Navi Mumbai: 96-year-old woman undergoes spinal surgery, walks next day

The procedure was performed over two hours by the team of doctors of Apollo Hospitals

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Saturday, June 25, 2022, 11:17 PM IST
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Representative Image | Photo: Pexels

A 96-year-old paralysed Jijabai Patil got a new lease of life after doctors successfully performed a laminectomy with removal of the clot compressing the spinal cord. She is one of the oldest people to undergo successful spine surgery. The procedure was performed over two hours by the team of doctors of Apollo Hospitals. The patient could stand in an erect position the very next day of surgery.

Laminectomy is a surgery that creates space by removing the lamina — the back part of a vertebra that covers the spinal canal. This allows access to structures in and around the spinal cord. In this case, the doctors successfully removed the clot that is compressing the spinal cord.

Dr Sunil Kutty, Consultant, Brain and Spine Surgery said, it is extremely rare that such elderly patients are willing to undergo spinal surgery. Often, people are scared of spinal surgeries and have a perception that it would make them bed-ridden. But, here a 96-year-old who came to us on a stretcher, stood up and walked out of her bed the very next day of her surgery, defying all the notions people carry in their minds about age as well as spine surgery. “However, the patient and her relative’s positive attitude and the patient’s age not being a deterrent, were key factors in the success of the surgery for our team of neurosurgeons and anaesthetists,” he said.

The 96-year-old patient, a resident of Uran, arrived at Apollo Hospitals Navi Mumbai in the last week of April with complaints of weakness in both lower limbs for 10 days, which resulted in her inability to walk and carry out daily activities. She also had severe pain in her back radiating to her left leg. An MRI of her spine showed severe compression in L1 and L2 lumbar spine with a displacement of the caudal nerve root (nerve roots that travel down the spine and connect to the other body parts).

An L1 laminectomy was performed and a haematoma (a pool of blood outside of a blood vessel) was found in the epidural space with thickened ligamentum flavum (a short but thick ligament). The clot was removed and post-procedure, the patient was hemodynamically stable and made a speedy recovery.

Dr Ravi Shankar, Joint Medical Director said, spine surgery is safe and effective treatment for people who need it. Although most people recover from back pain through exercise and healthy lifestyles, in this case, the age factor played a key role and surgery was the only viable option left to treat the paralysed patient. “However, spinal surgery, even in elderly patients, if necessary is a considerable treatment to improve the quality of life. We are glad that our neurosurgical team has put in their efforts to make this case a successful one,” he said.

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