During our yearly mission trip to Kolkata, India, to support Operation Straight Spine, we will often see cases of congenital spinal deformities – 2016 was no exception. Congenital spinal deformity is caused by an abnormality in the growth of one or more spinal vertebra and occurs before birth. After the child is born and during their most rapid periods of growth the spinal deformity can become quite severe and produce significant disability if not corrected early.
MD Kutubuddin was a 22-year old man with severe congenital kyphoscoliosis who came to us complaining of back pain and progressive weakness in his legs. The 3D CT scan of the spine pictured here shows how severe his congenital deformity had become over the years. The deformity was causing pressure on his spinal cord resulting in the weakness of his legs. At first we had second thoughts about performing surgery on this man due to the complexity of the deformity and the magnitude and risk of the surgery that would be required to correct his condition. Because he was developing progressive neurologic symptoms, we knew that if we did not intervene, he would eventually develop paralysis in his legs.
Surgery was performed to straighten his spine and relieve pressure on the spinal cord. The procedure involved removing two of the deformed vertebrae and inserting a cage to replace them. Spinal rods and screws were inserted to stabilize and keep the spine straight while the area fused together with bone graft.
Postoperatively he developed a superficial wound infection which cleared with antibiotics and local wound care. MD had complete recovery of his leg weakness and was very pleased with his post-operative condition.