A 32-year-old expatriate woman from Sharjah has become the first patient in the UAE, and second in the Gulf to undergo a new minimally invasive surgical procedure, developed in the USA, to replace a disc between the vertebrae, using an artificial disc.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Thu 2 Jun 2005, 12:48 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:19 PM

The new procedure offers significantly improved results and faster post-operative recovery and will offer relief to people in the region who suffer from back and neck pain, which is very common. The first procedure was undertaken recently at the American Hospital Dubai, as part of a two-day conference on minimally invasive spinal surgery.

The artificial disc replacement procedure allows the patient to maintain the mobility of the vertebrae. Previously, the only option was to fuse the vertebrae, which would restrict mobility and could eventually lead to problems in other discs. The minimally invasive technique means surgical incisions are smaller and results in less pain and a faster return to normal life, with a quicker recovery and a shorter hospital stay. The first disc replacement operation was observed, via a live video link, by an audience of more than 40 neurosurgeons, neurologists and spinal orthopaedic surgeons from the Gulf, France, Canada, Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan, who were attending the conference.

The procedure was performed by Professor Assaker, a neurosurgeon from Lille in France, and Dr Kassem El-Shunnar, Consultant Neurosurgeon at the American Hospital Dubai. Dr El-Shunnar commented: “Back pain and neck pain are very common complaints and this new procedure is now available to sufferers in Dubai and the region. The minimally invasive disc replacement procedure has been made possible for trained neurosurgeons by the development of an artificial disc. The American Hospital Dubai has recently invested in this latest technology to make the procedure available here in Dubai.”

The minimally invasive spinal surgery conference was officially opened by his Excellency, the President of the Emirates Medical Association, Undersecretary of Health, Dr Abdelghaffar Abdelghafoor. The two-day event organised by the American Hospital Dubai and included a live teleconference with the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA, lectures and the live minimally invasive disc replacement surgery.

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