U.S. citizen undergoes fusionless scoliosis surgery in Chennai

Chief spine surgeon at Apollo does the corrective procedure

A 42-year-old person from the U.S., who was suffering from idiopathic scoliosis since young age, has undergone a fusionless scoliosis surgery at Apollo Hospitals here.

Daniel Fry, a counsellor, said she was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, when she was 11. A physically active person who ran marathons, Ms. Fry said that initially it was more a discomfort than pain.

“As a child, I was told that the curvature will not progress once I stopped growing,” she said. However, the condition worsened with increased pain and therapeutic care stopped being helpful. Although she was was aware of the standard fusion surgery, she was unwilling to undergo it as the procedure will severely restrict her mobility. “I got to know about fusionless scoliosis surgery and found out that only three surgeons in the U.S. were performing that for adults. However, I got to know that my insurance will not pay for the surgery,” she said.

Later, she found that Sajan K. Hegde, chief spine surgeon and clinical director, Institute of Robotic and Complex Spine Surgery, Apollo Hospitals, was doing this procedure and got in touch with him.

Dr. Hegde said that Ms. Fry’s curvature of the spine was unusual and resulted in extreme pain. “She was not treated properly when she was young and hence it worsened,” he said.

“Fusionless scoliosis surgery takes minimal time. It is less invasive and less expensive and preserves motion and function in patients while lessening the chance of back pain later in life.”

“This technique can now be used in idiopathic scoliosis where the deformity can be corrected using a flexible cable. No fusion of the operated portion of spine is performed. Therefore, patients can return back to normal life faster,” he added.

“She is undergoing physiotherapy now. She must be able to run a ten miler in a few months,” he said.

Preetha Reddy, vice-chairperson, Apollo Hospitals, said the procedure done for the first time on an adult showed the hospital’s commitment to world class outcomes. Stating that she was happy that Ms. Fry and her family managed to travel during the pandemic to get the procedure done, she expressed hope that the woman would resume all her activities once she went back to the U.S.

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