Using artificial "Cervical Disc" for degenerative disc diseases

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Degenerative disc diseases can now be replaced with an artificial cervical disc. The biggest advantage of cervical artificial disc is the preservation of movement operated segment. The simple surgical intervention helps quicker healing and faster recovery time because of minimum hospital stay and faster return to work.

Till now, the most common treatment for patients with degenerative discs in the cervical spine was spinal fusion. In this procedure a surgeon removes the damaged disc then implants a bone graft and metal plate to fuse the vertebrae together. During artificial disc replacement surgery, the damaged disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc, a stainless-steel device with a ball-in-trough design intended to allow for replication of normal motion.

The artificial cervical disc mimics the normal functions of healthy spinal disc for patients suffering from chronic and persistent neck pain which triggers and radiates right through the shoulders, arms and fingers can be relived with this safe and simple surgical treatment option, according to Dr Deshpande V Rajakumar, consultant, neurosurgeon, Wockhardt Hospital, Bangalore.

This is one of the biggest medical studies of its kind. Surgeons incorporating artificial cervical discs in their treatment regime recommend this procedure for young and active patients who suffer from chronic cervical discopathy symptoms and are uncomfortable to opt for surgical fusion of inter-vertebral discs. Experts are of the opinion that the advanced cervical artificial disc technology could well benefit surgery of the degenerative discs at any level of the neck - from C2/C3 to C7/T1, he added.

Operation of the cervical spine with the Artificial Disc Replacement procedure is performed with the patient lying on the back. A small incision is made on one side of the front of the neck to expose the disc between the vertebrae after pulling aside the surrounding fat and muscle tissues. The intervertebral disc and, in some cases, a portion of the bone around the nerve roots and/or spinal cord is removed to relieve the compressed neural structures to create additional space.

The cervical disc is then implanted in the space with the help of an appropriate surgical instrument.. The incision is closed and dressed. According to Dr Rajakumar, if a person is anticipating a cervical surgery, it is important to find out on being a potential candidate for a cervical artificial disc implant. Patients should also discuss the risks and limitations post surgery.

Patients with conditions like local infection, inflammation, pregnancy, morbid obesity, fever, mental illness, osteoporosis, and paediatrics are not advised for this procedure.

Medical Tourism in India: The Road Ahead


According to the Deloitte study, the number of Americans going abroad for treatment was set to double from 75,000 last year to 150,000 this year, before zooming to 600,000 next year. With a heart bypass costing up to US$80,000 (Dh293,840) in the US and as little as $10,000 in India, according to McKinsey, the economics are obvious.

Indian Corporate Hospitals has seen an significant increase of overseas patients in the last 3 to 4 years . Dr Ramakanta Panda, India’s most famous heart surgeon, who has operated on Indian Prime Minister , "Dr Manmohan Singh" operates on more than 400 International patients.

According to Dr Panda Of late there has been a surge in government ministers and senior businessmen, from Africa and the Middle East , out of four or five consultations about one is operated.

We probably do not do more than two or three American or European inpatients in a month,” Dr Panda estimates. “Health is something people are very scared to outsource. It’s very easy to outsource IT Services, but outsourcing life seems very dangerous.”

Sudarshan Mazumdar, the marketing director at Fortis Healthcare, India’s second-largest hospital chain, is similarly circumspect about the long anticipated surge in American and European patients.

“A lot of African countries or Middle East countries who used to look at London and the US are now looking more and more towards India. That’s going to keep on happening. What isn’t happening is Canada, Australia, US and Europe – that belt hasn’t happened at all.”

Estimates of the scale of medical outsourcing vary wildly. Within months of last year’s Deloitte study, a study by McKinsey, using a tighter definition, put the number of medical tourists worldwide at just 60,000 to 80,000 a year, a tenth of Deloitte’s estimate for the US alone. McKinsey estimated the US provided just 10 per cent of medical tourists.

The number of medical tourists coming to India is similarly uncertain. At the Association of Indian Chambers of Commerce’s medical tourism conference in January, a presentation from India’s Institute for Clinical Research said India had treated 300,000 medical tourists back in 2006.

Another study, citing McKinsey, said it had only received 150,000 as of last year. But seeing as Wockhardt Hospitals, the Indian hospital group that has most enthusiastically targeted medical tourism, only treated 3,500 foreign patients last year – of which about half came from the US and Europe – the McKinsey figure seems more likely.

Wockhardt expects the number of foreign patients to rise by 38 per cent this year. But that will still leave it a fraction of the company’s 55,000 to 60,000 domestic patients.

Vishal Bali, the chief executive of Wockhardt Hospitals, one of the few Indian hospital groups to push hard for international business, believes that the long awaited takeoff is finally here. “A lot of work had happened from 2004 to 2007, and that is beginning to show very positive results.”

What could make this happen is if large US companies and insurance companies incorporated a medical tourism option.

Wellness Tip to keep your "Heart Working at " Workplace"

  • Take the Stairs : Sure this is slower,but it gives your heart a great workout.
  • Take a break:Find an excuse every hour to get up from your cubicle to stretch or walk around.
  • Kick the Butt !! Completely : Use your time to take up a hobby or an interest. Find a friend who wishes to quit smoking too.
  • Homemade Food : Pack Your Food from home and avoid eating out
  • Sleep Well : About 6-7 hours sleep should be enough for you.
  • Smile:Your physical health depends a lot on your emotional health. A smile is the biggest cardio workout.

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