Kenyan children suffering from Early Onset Scoliosis are set to benefit from the launch of a new medical technology that will help correct the condition through non-invasive means reducing the number of surgeries needed by more than half and saving them repeated trips to India since the technology is portable.
Early Onset Scoliosis is a condition that causes the spine to curve and in severe cases can lead to lung and heart damage in children. The most common symptoms of early onset scoliosis are tilted, uneven shoulders, with one shoulder blade protruding more than the other, prominence of the ribs on one side, uneven waistline, difference in hip height or position, overall appearance of leaning to the side.
The new medical technology called MAGEC (Magnetic Expansion Control) system was introduced Thursday in Kenya by Apollo Hospital Navi Mumbai during an awareness breakfast on Scoliosis at a Nairobi Hotel.
“MAGEC rods have the obvious advantage of reducing the number of surgeries needed by the child. In older methods one would have to undergo surgery after every 6 months for several years until the spine has been straightened. With MAGEC, surgery is needed when the rods are being inserted and after that the rods can be lengthened using a remote control placed outside the child’s body as the child’s spine grows,” Dr. Agnivesh Tikoo, Apollo Hospital Navi Mumbai Spine Surgeon said during the launch of the technology.
MAGEC utilizes rods that have a magnetic component in them. The rods are inserted into the abnormal curved spine to straighten it. These rods are then lengthened using a handheld remote control that is placed outside the body removing the need for surgery. It is important to lengthen the rod as the spine grows in a child.
Apollo Hospital Navi Mumbai spine doctors will be able to carry this portable remote control device when coming to observe their patients in the country saving them the required bi-annual trips to India. The MAGEC rods just like in the older methods still need lengthening at regular intervals but the difference is that with MAGEC the procedure is non-invasive. The process using the remote control takes less than 5 minutes, is painless, no anesthesia is needed and the patient’s recovery is immediate.
In older methods, the patient will experience pain and take some time to recover after surgery while in hospital.
In a separate phone interview, Dr. Kirsteen Awori , a spine surgeon and senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi said that technology in spine surgery needs good funding by local health financiers.
The Apollo Group of Hospitals receives about 100 patients from Kenya every month who are treated for various conditions of the Spine, Neurology and Cancer.