Boy with spinal injury can now sit straight thanks to surgery
An 8-year-old boy has had his curved spine corrected from 69 degrees to only 10 degrees thanks to surgery at Xinhua Hospital.
The boy had spinal muscular atrophy, a rare neuromuscular disease which seriously impacts life quality. There are nearly 30,000 SMA patients in China, with about 1,500 new cases each year.
The hospital set up the nation's first SMA-related curved spine diagnosis and treatment center on Sunday.
Children with the disease usually die between 2 and 10 years of age. Even children with relatively mild cases can experience problems with their bones, muscles, lungs and heart as they grow.
Almost all patients with SMA have curved spines and the condition typically worsens after patients enter puberty. The curved spine can press the chest and many people die due to respiratory complications.
The boy, Velo, who is known by his experience in fighting with the disease, received growing rods surgery at Xinhua. His curved spine had pressed his heart and lung, impacting his health and growth.
Doctors from multiple departments offered a plan after detailed discussions.
"We suggested installing an adjustable growing rod inside the spine to help renovate the curve," said Dr Yang Junlin, director of Xinhua's Spine Center.
"Surgery should be done each year in line with the growth and ends when the patient stops to grow. Through the surgery, the patient can rectify the spine, improve lung and heart function as well as sit and lie straight."
The two-hour surgery in late October was a success, and after-surgery checks found the boy's curved spine greatly improved. After months of rehabilitation, Velo has returned to school for the new semester.
"It is just a new life for him, as Velo can sit and lie straight comfortably for the first time," said his mother.
Xinhua is the biggest clinical center for children with curved spines in the nation. So far it has carried out nearly 30 operations on patients with SMA, greatly improving their life quality.
"The new center will offer a whole-life management on SMA patients and their families through genetic consultation, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation," Yang said. "It will help establish a standard rare disease treatment system in the nation to offer better medical service for the patients."