Mission Tie-Up for Spine Treatment: The Telegraph, 2006

Issue Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mission tie-up for spine treatment


A state-of-the-art spine treatment centre, with equipment worth $5 million, has been set up at Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan, in collaboration with Pennsylvania Spine and Scoliosis Institute, Medtronic Spine and Biologics and University Hospital of Wales.

The underprivileged will be treated at the centre for free — except for the payment of nominal bed and medication charges. For others, the services will be offered at subsidised rates.

Some of the latest treatment for spine deformity, back pain and disc problems are now available at the centre. A team of six doctors from the US and UK, including spine specialists, have flown in to the hospital and performed a few critical operations.

“The centre will act as a referral unit in eastern India and will offer treatment of international standards for complex spine deformities and other problems,” said Tapas Chakraborty, head of orthopaedic department of the hospital.

“We have been trying to set up the unit for the past five years,” said orthopaedic surgeon Ujjwal Debnath.

Medtronic has donated more than $4.7 million to the project, said David Kelley of Medtronic Spine and Biologics. Pennsylvania Spine and Scoliosis Institute has raised $50,000.

“State-of-the-art implant equipment like rods, screws and hooks have been donated to the institute,” said Jeffrey R. McConnell, of Pennsylvania Spine and Scoliosis Institute.

Among the disorders to be treated at the centre are spondylolisthesis and Prolapsed Intervertebral Disc (PID). Spondylolisthesis is marked with slippage of one vertebra on another, causing narrowing of the canal through which the spinal cord passes. “It causes acute pain and affects the nerves,” explained Chakraborty. PID causes severe low back pain, induced by wrong sitting posture.

The centre, for the first time in eastern India, will offer spine treatment with Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP), which boosts bone growth and fusion of two bones. The protein — with an ampule of 2-4 mg priced around $4,000 — is administered between bones after correcting the deformity.

Chakraborty, meanwhile, alleged that seven parcels — containing surgery material — which were sent from the US, were detained for more than a month and a half at the foreign parcel department.

Finally, Chakraborty had to spend four hours running from one official to another and establish his identity before the parcels were released.

This article appeared in The Telegraph, November 22, 2006.

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