Doctors at Wockhardt Hospitals - Spinal Deformity Correction


Rare and complicated spinal deformity correction surgery gives 14 year old Shahruk Khan a new lease of life

Bangalore, December 2009… Doctors at Wockhardt Hospitals led by Dr. K N Krishna, Senior Consultant in the Brain and Spine service successfully performed a rare and complicated spinal deformity correction surgery to save a 14 year old from leading a complete disabled life. Shah Rukh Khan a 9th standard student was suffering from Neurofibromatosis (an autosomal dominant disorder that affects the bone, the nervous system, soft tissue, and the skin) with a severe spinal deformity. There have been only a few cases reported the world over on surgical treatment for a rotational dislocation of the spine in neurofibromatosis.

Shah Rukh Khan who hails from Malur was suffering from Neurofibromatosis since birth however his condition had progression over the years and it was only in the last four months that it manifested in severe deformity leaving him in extreme pain and on the brink of paralysis. His spine was grossly dislocated and twisted putting pressure on the spinal cord. It was at an advanced stage that the child was brought to Wockhardt Hospitals, Bannerghatta for treatment where he was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis and a dislocated spine necessitating immediate surgery to prevent him from further deterioration of his condition.

“In India, unlike western countries, spinal deformity in Neurofibromatosis tends to go undiagnosed due to lack of awareness and also very few hospitals have the infrastructure and expertise to treat this condition. In most cases patients advance to a stage where the spinal deformity can become severe, spinal cord damage can become irreparable and correction very dangerous” said Dr Dilip Gopalakrishnan, Consultant Spine Surgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals.

The complex surgery involved spinal decompression, stabilization of the deformity and fusion of the spine thus restoring the function of the spinal cord and protecting it from further damage. Shahruk Khan is now able to stand on his feet unassisted with relatively no pain and will soon be discharged.

“Shahruk Khan’s case required considerable study and preparation as there is so little documentation on the surgery at this stage of Neurofibromatosis. A high level of expertise is needed to perform this surgery” said Dr. K N Krishna, Consultant Neuro Surgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals.

“According to international studies, type 1 neurofibromatosis occurs in approximately 1 of 2,500-3,300 live births, regardless of race, sex, or ethnic background. The carrier incidence at birth is 0.0004, and the gene frequency is 0.0002. The incidence of type 2 neurofibromatosis is 1 case per 50,000-120,000 population” Dr. Krishna added.

Spending his free time in the hospital reading a story book, the much animated Shahruk shares with us about his desire to get back to school soon in the coming year and when asked on which profession he would like to pursue Shahruk promptly replies that he would become a businessman! Shahruk lost his father when he was 9, due to financial constraints he stays with his aunt in Andhra and his mother lives with grandfather in Malur. Being the only child Shahruk has an aspiration to do something great in life and give his mother all the happiness she deserves. This incident has not dampened the child’s spirit to live life again. At 14 he has victoriously come out of the battle of life and death and with a smile says I would start going to school again from this January.

About Neurofibromatosis:

Neurofibromatosis (NF) is an autosomal (Pertaining to a chromosome that is not a sex chromosome) dominant disorder that affects the bone, the nervous system, soft tissue, and the skin. It is a neurocutaneous (genetic disorders that lead to abnormal growth of tumors in various parts of the body) condition that can involve almost any organ hence the signs and symptoms can vary widely. There are two major subtypes type 1 neurofibromatosis, which is the most common subtype and is referred to as peripheral neurofibromatosis, and type 2 neurofibromatosis, which is referred to as central neurofibromatosis

The severity of both types of neurofibromatosis varies greatly. In families where more than one person has NF, the symptoms and complications for each affected person can be different. At diagnosis, it isn't possible to know right away whether a case will be mild or lead to severe complications. Both types of neurofibromatosis are a dominant genetic disorder, which means an affected person has 50% chance of passing it on with each pregnancy. Neurofibromatosis also can be the result of a spontaneous change (mutation) in the genetic material of the sperm or egg at conception in families with no previous history of NF. About half of cases are inherited, and the other half are due to spontaneous genetic mutation.

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