In 2014, Anushka Naha, a 9-year-old girl with an intellectual disability, came to the Ramakrishna Mission Hospital to be evaluated by the Operation Straight Spine team. We were amazed to hear that her parents had traveled more than 200 miles to Kolkata to be considered for treatment of her scoliosis. Anushka was bright, pleasant, but communicated only with great difficulty. She was unable to sit or stand due to the severe deformity of her thoracic spine which had progressed to a 76 degree scoliosis.
By virtue of the magnitude of her spinal deformity and her young age of 9-years, we knew that her deformity would increase and continue to increase throughout her adult life. There was only one option to help this young lady – surgery. Our goal with surgery for Anushka was to restore a more normal spinal posture, improve her balance and improve her overall independent functional abilities. It was vitally important that we should make her less dependent on other persons in her family.
Her surgery required a posterior release to regain flexibility in the spine. Rods and screws were inserted into the vertebrae from T2 through T12 to straighten the curvature in her spine. We utilized a technology known as Pediguard which is an electronic probe used during surgery to echo-navigate through a pedicle and minimize the risk of placing pedicle screws into the vertebrae. After the spine is straightened, bone graft is placed to fuse the vertebrae together to prevent recurrence of the scoliosis.
After surgery, Anushka regained her sitting balance within 6 months and was able to stand without assistance. Her parents were extremely grateful to the OSS team for the vast improvement in their daughter’s health and well being.