Docs perform rare surgery

Keith D'Souza (47), a marine engineer from Mangalore suffered with severe neck pain, accompanied by numbness, weakness and pain in left arm. The constant stiffness in his neck was affecting his eyesight as well.

Keith visited spine surgeon Dr Jacob Chacko at Fr Muller's Medical College who diagnosed him with a C6-C7 degenerated disc with Myeloradiculopathy, a condition where the discs in the patient’s spinal cord break open or bulge out, putting pressure in the spine.

Addressing a press meet, Dr Chacko explained that the intervertebral discs in the spine, which acts as natural shock absorbers at times get worn out and degenerate due to factors such as age, poor posture, spinal injury and nutritional deficiency. Due to degeneration process, the space between the vertebrae narrows and they start coming closer. As degenerative disc disease progress, the neck becomes less flexible and the patient may feel severe pain and stiffness in the neck, he added.

“Considering D’Souza's age and active lifestyle, I decided to perform an artificial cervical disc replacement procedure, a first of its kind in Mangalore. This procedure replaces the old diseased disc with a mobile metal disc. In addition to pain relief, the patient retains the mobility of his neck,” he said and added that after procedure, D’Souza has 100 per cent relief from pain, 100 per cent restoration of movement and marked improvement in eyesight because of improved neck flexibility.

The entire procedure cost Rs 2.5 lakh. Dr Chacko said that the surgery is not advised for patients with conditions like local infection and inflammation, pregnancy, morbid obesity, fever, mental illness, joint diseases like osteoporosis, pediatric cases and others. “Only a doctor can determine a suitable candidate for this treatment,” he stressed.

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