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A new technology introduced in India makes spine surgery successful for Osteoporotic patients

Weak bones due to Osteoporosis can now be stabilised with FNS screws can fill cement to strengthen weak bones....Newer technologies make spine surgery safe and effective for patients

26th July, Noida: Life for 63-year-old Satya Verma was excruciatingly painful. She was suffering from low back ache, tingling numbness with pain in both lower limbs that increased on walking, a condition that impaired her normal functioning. She was diagnosed with Listhesis (grade 2) along with very weak bones that required immediate surgery.

'Listhesis' is a condition where an unnaturally mobile vertebra, which moves, leaves its normal position and thus can cause different complications. Listhesis can cause disabling pain in back and legs that can occur permanently or during certain postures. It can also cause loss of sensation, prickling or paralysis.

As Satya Verma had started feeling numbness in both her legs, which could have eventually lead to paralysis, she required an immediate surgery correct her spine. During the procedure, implantable medical devices like screws and rods (refer diagram) were to be used to provide stability to her spine.

However, since the patient suffered from Osteoporosis leading to weakening her bones, this surgery was not likely to yield good results. In Osteoporotic patients, this stabilisation mechanism is not very successful as the bones are too weak to hold the screws and rods. They mostly come off due to the porous bones. As a result these patients mostly have to live with their condition or rely on natural healing process which can be long, painful and can leave the patient bedridden. 



Moreover, the bones may not join in their natural shape, it can lead to deformity of spine.
However unlike other patients, Sathya Verma was lucky enough to undergo this procedure with the help of a new technology introduced by medical device company, Medtronic. Dr. Hegde successfully performed Fenestrated Screw (FNS) Surgery for the first time in India. FNS Screws have holes on the tip through bone cement can be injected to strengthen the fragile bones of Osteoporotic patients. Once the bone cement hardens, the screws are fixed to stabilise the spine.

Speaking on the occasion, DR. Hegde said, “This new technology, FNS spinal system is an exciting technology that provides a solution for addressing patients with poor or compromised bone quality as a result of Osteoporosis, a condition in which the bone becomes extremely porous, heals slowly and is subject to fracture. This FNS system features a pedicle screw with additional holes in the tip to allow a specially formulated bone cement to be injected into a patient's vertebral body. This cement then cures and provides enhanced fixation in the patient's spine. FNS screws provide 221% higher pull out strength than the normal screws, thereby significantly enhancing the surgery success rate.”

Explaining what Osteoporosis is, Dr. Hegde said Osteoporosis is a disease of bones that causes decrease in the density of bone and bone mass resulting in fragile, thin and weak bones. Since bones become extremely weak, they are prone to breaking or fracture even due to a slight impact or injury. Of late, Osteoporosis is proving to be one of the major ‘silent killer diseases,’ in the country. This disease progresses painlessly over several years. It affects almost 28 million people in India… 20% of women and 10 – 15% of men aged above 50 are becoming osteoporotic in the country.

Osteoporosis is the leading cause of Spinal Fractures in India. Almost 83% spinal fractures are caused due to this disease. In India, every year Osteoporosis causes an estimated 500,000 spinal fractures, 300,000 hip fractures, 200,000 broken wrists, and 300,000 fractures of other bones.