A minimally invasive surgery to fix lower-back disorders is gaining popularity among neuro surgeons.
The technique, called oblique lateral interbody fusion (OLIF), involves the removal of damaged intervertebral disc and bone, and fusing of two adjacent spinal vertebrae (the bones of the spine). A small incision is made in the umbilical region and a single port is used to access the problem area.
A two-day live surgery workshop on OLIF began at the Institute of Neurosciences Kolkata (INK) on Friday.
Like other minimally invasive surgeries, the procedure means quicker post-operative recovery and shorter hospital stay, said spine surgeons at the workshop.
“In traditional or direct lumbar spine surgeries, a large incision is made on the lower back. The incision is usually 12-14cm wide. In the new technique, the incision is made on the flank of the umbilical region. The size of the incision is around 4cm,” said Anindya Basu, spine surgeon at the INK.
“The procedure focuses on minimal disruption of the anatomy and physiology of a patient, which translates to shorter stay in hospital after the surgery. Usually, a patient is discharged within one or two days of the surgery. So, the overall financial burden is lesser than that in case of traditional surgeries. A patient can return to normal life much faster,” said Basu, a member of a team that conducted OLIF surgeries on three patients on Saturday.
Christopher Gerber, head of neurosurgery and spine unit at the INK and neurosurgeon Garga Basu, are the other members of the surgery team.
The surgeries were live streamed for doctors from different parts of the country.
Amit Jhala, spine surgeon at HCG Hospital in Ahmedabad and Umesh Srikantha, neurospine surgeon at Aster Hospital in Bangalore, both experts in OLIF technique, have flown in to supervise the workshop.
People with lumbar spine or lower-back disorders — like spondylolisthesis and sciatica — can be treated with the OLIF technique, said doctors at the workshop.
“The occurrence of lower back pain in India is alarming with nearly 60 per cent of its people having suffered…. Lumbar spine disorders are on the rise with people aged as young as 16 to 34 years suffering from degenerative spinal problems,” the doctors at INK said in a statement.