10-yr-old boy underwent Robotic Surgery for Spinal Tuberculosis

10 year old Shivam’s condition was quite critical because of tuberculosis of the spine when he came to Delhi from Bihar. The surgeons at Apollo Hospital opted for robotic surgery for him, which is less painful, is extremely accurate and would help the little boy in a speedy recovery. The doctors performed a 2-hour surgery on 15th July.

Rajendra Prasad, Spine Surgeon said, “He is comfortable, walking and will return to school in two weeks.” He added, “Shivam is from Bihar. He got fever about five months ago, after which he developed back pain and bending of the spine. This made it difficult for him to walk. He developed weakness in the legs and was unable to go to school or play with friends.”

He underwent initial treatment in Bihar but it did not prove to be helpful, so his parents brought him to Delhi. Dr. Prasad explained, “An MRI revealed the collapse of the thoracic ninth and tenth vertebrae, leading to compression of the spinal cord along with a large collection of pus in and around the spine in that area and the chest cavity.” He added, “Standard surgery in such cases involves a large incision in the chest with prolonged hospital stay. Pain after the procedure can make recovery and return to normal activities slow.” Considering the age and the condition of the child, the health experts thought of conducting a robotic surgery on him.

Although this surgery a first-of-it’s-kind in the world  has been attempted earlier as well for chest cavity but that case was different from Shivam’s case. “After reviewing the scans, robotic instrumentation and discussion it was felt that the procedure could be attempted. And if successful, it would give the child the benefit of this latest technology,” furthered Dr. Prasad, “Robotic surgery has been conducted in the case of lumbar spine disc disease in the United States. This is the first case outside of the United States where pus and infected tissue was removed from the thoracic spine, allowing relief of pressure from the spinal cord, thereby relieving pain and improving power in the legs so Shivam can walk freely.”

Explaining about the advantage of technique the doctor said that the arms of the robot are steady and strong and offer special benefit of rotating 360 degrees. This makes cutting, stitching and tissue handling accurate and precise. During long-hour surgeries the arms of the robot do not feel worn-out. 3-D vision of the operation area with 20 time enlarged visualization helps the surgeons largely. This minimal invasive technique is a much needed help to complex spine surgeries better and effective. Dr. Prasad added, “Once Shivam recovered from the procedure, the vertebras were fixed from behind a week later so as to enable early mobilization.”

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