ibnlive » Health

Jan 08, 2008 at 05:12pm IST

Pain in the back? Replace that backbone

New Delhi: It is a spine surgery with a difference. It is a part of India's first artificial spinal disc replacement using a new implant called Prodisc C — short for cervical — approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just last month.

Experts say this replacement surgery is far better than the earlier fusion technique.

Senior Consultant Neurosurgery, Max Hospital, Dr Bipin Walia says, "A new concept is coming which says why fuse the cervical spine. We should just do the surgery and replace the disc with an artificial spine."

And while experts warn that even after the operation, lifestyle modification is crucial, they say the new technique should prove useful in countries like India, where there's an increase in life expectancy.

So how is the Prodisc better than the earlier available discs?

"Prodisc is better on two accounts. One is that there is increased mobility and the other is that it is also FDA approved," says Dr Walia.

And 52-year-old Naseem, the first Indian to get a Prodisc C implant, vouches for the new technique. Suffering from pain and immobility in her right hand for a year, she feels active and confident after the surgery.

"The feeling has come back in my hands and I can move my fingers — something which I could not do earlier," says she.

But it's not a cheap option. At Rs 2.5 lakh, the procedure costs some five times more than the earlier fusion technique, that costs about Rs 50,000. But it is a new option, available at select hospitals, that should help some of the 5 million Indians suffering from back problems.

"The cost of implant will add on to the cost of surgery, but the result is that you are better and your mobility is better," says Dr Walia.

With a sedentary lifestyle, it's the back that's taking the toll. One hopes that this technology helps people see better days.