Mumbai: Neurosurgeon successfully performs high-risk spine surgery on nonagenarian

Doctors had to perform minimally invasive surgery after MRI of the spine showed a large disc herniation with compression of his nerve root.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Sunday, August 07, 2022, 11:16 PM IST
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A neurosurgeon successfully performed high-risk spine surgery on a nonagenarian with debilitating back and left leg pain. A- 90-year-old VT Mulgund from Dombivli experienced back and left leg pain for two to three months. Gradually the pain increased to such an extent that he couldn’t walk even a few steps without pain. Doctors had to perform minimally invasive surgery after MRI of the spine showed a large disc herniation with compression of his nerve root.

According to the doctors, the patient had tried several tips like not sitting for a longer time, avoiding lifting heavy objects and bending, stretching, and using over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication, but nothing seemed to work to provide him relief. “He was fit, but the continuous pain and inability to do his routine activities made him uncomfortable. Considering his age the only advice he got was just to take rest and nothing can be done,” said the doctor.

Dr Abhijit Kulkarni, Consultant Neurosurgeon, SRV Mamta Hospital, Dombivli said that the patient could not even walk to the washroom and could barely stand. A herniated disc occurs when the fibrous outer portion of the disc tends to rupture or tear and the jelly-like core squeezes out. As people age, the disk becomes less flexible and may tear or rupture due to a strain or twist. “It is a very common cause of low back pain and unilateral leg pain. The patient and his family members were counselled about surgery for removing the prolapsed disc which was the only pain to manage pain. He was operated on using minimally invasive techniques. We took all necessary preoperative precautions. Anaesthetists, cardiologists and the ICU Intensivists also contributed with their expertise,” he said.

Dr Kulkarni added, “He was operated through a small inch incision under a microscope. The disc portion which had herniated out was completely removed and the nerve roots were freed. The surgery was completed in an hour. After surgery, he was pain-free and walked the very next day.”

Patient VT Mulgund said the back and leg pain interfered with my ability to do the daily chores with ease. I have always been active and didn’t want to become bed-bound. He is thankful to Dr Kulkarni for performing the successful spine surgery and helping me walk freely. The leg pain has also disappeared now. “I advise people of my age to pay attention to back pain, take it seriously, and opt for safe surgery with an experienced surgeon at a centre with adequate facilities to manage any complicated case. Now, I have started walking just like before. I am happy and looking forward to leading a healthy life,” he concluded.

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