Laminectomy: 96-Yr-Old Paralysed Woman Undergoes Spinal Surgery, Walks Again

Laminectomy – Many elderly patients are not willing to undergo spinal surgery, even when it is needed, as they have a perception that it would make them bedridden.

In an extremely rare case, an elderly woman who was bedbound was able to stand straight and walk again after a successfully spinal surgery at a private hospital in Mumbai. A team of doctors at the hospital performed a laminectomy on the 96-year-old paralysed patient and removed the clot compressing the spinal cord. The procedure took over 2 hours, and she was able stand in an erect position the very next day of the surgery, they said.

According to the doctors at Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, who conducted the surgery, this woman is one of the oldest people to undergo successful spine surgery.

Dr. Sunil Kutty, Consultant, Brain and Spine Surgery, Apollo Hospitals said, “It is extremely rare that such elderly patients are willing to undergo spinal surgery. Often, people are scared of spinal surgeries and have a perception that it would make them bedridden. But here we have a 96-year-old who came to us on a stretcher, stood up and walked out of her bed the very next day of her surgery, defying all the notion people carry in their minds about age as well as spine surgery. However, the patient and her relative’s positive attitude and the patient’s age not being a deterrent, were key factors in the success of the surgery for our team of neurosurgeons and anesthetists.”

What is Laminectomy?

Laminectomy is a surgery that creates space by removing the lamina the back part of a vertebra that covers the spinal canal. This allows access to structures in and around the spinal cord. In this case, the doctors successfully removed the clot that is compressing the spinal cord.

The elderly woman, a resident of Uran, arrived at Apollo Hospitals with complaints of weakness in both lower limbs, which had been there for past 10 days. She could not walk and had severe pain in her back radiating to her left leg. An MRI of her spine revealed severe compression in L1 and L2 lumbar spine with a displacement of the caudal nerve root (nerve roots that travel down the spine and connect to the other body parts).

An L1 laminectomy was performed on the woman and a haematoma (a pool of blood outside of a blood vessel) was found in the epidural space with thickened ligamentum flavum (a short but thick ligament). The clot was removed and post-procedure, the patient was hemodynamically stable and made a speedy recovery, said the neuro team at Apollo Hospitals.

When one may need to undergo spinal surgery?

Although most people recover from back pain through exercise and healthy lifestyles, in this case, the age factor played a key role and surgery was the only viable option left to treat the paralyzed patient, said Dr. Ravi Shankar, Joint Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.

Spine surgery is safe and effective treatment for people who need it. Even in elderly patients, if necessary, it is a considerable treatment to improve the quality of life, Dr. Shankar noted.

Also Read: Obese Parents Are Likely To Have Obese Or Overweight Children: Study

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