Vietnam applies new techniques in scoliosis surgery

The latest modern techniques in scoliosis orthopaedic surgery have been applied for the first time in Vietnam by the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital, with support from a world leading expert in spinal pathology.

Professor Arun Ranganathan (C) and doctors from the Orthopaedic Trauma Department under the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital examine a child patient with scoliosis.
Professor Arun Ranganathan (C) and doctors from the Orthopaedic Trauma Department under the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital examine a child patient with scoliosis.

Accordingly, doctors from the Orthopaedic Trauma Department under the hospital have collaborated with Professor Arun Ranganathan from the Royal London Hospital (the UK) to apply the O-arm three-dimensional surgical imaging system and the Streamline sliding screw system to successfully perform scoliosis surgeries for three patients.

The first three patients to have the new techniques applied on for orthopaedic spinal surgery include Ngo Phuong Th. (17 years old, from Vinh Phuc province), Vu Thi Minh H. (14 years old, from Hai Phong city) and Phan Thanh Quang N. (16 years old, from Hanoi). They are patients who have suffered from scoliosis for a year and have not been treated with any method, the two remaining patients were diagnosed with scoliosis three years ago and the duo have received rehabilitation and treatment but their scoliosis was still increasing. They were among three of more than 100 children and adults who came for free examination at the department from June 26 to 28. After the surgeries, all three patients’ scoliosis was adjusted to reach 99% normal condition with stable health. They are under follow up monitoring for one or two days before being discharged from hospital and returning to normal life.

Notably, this is the first time the new techniques have been deployed in Vietnam to serve spinal curvature surgery for patients. By using a double threaded screw system, screwing is quick and accurate. The sliding screw system is long and easy to place in the position that needs to be adjusted, making the surgery more convenient and cutting short the operating time (only two-thirds compared to other conventional methods), while reducing blood loss and the risk of infection for patients, thereby helping them recover faster.

Dr. Hoang Gia Du Truong, Head of the Orthopaedic Trauma Department under Bach Mai Hospital, said that scoliosis is very complicated and often unexplained. The lesions are often anatomical disorders and deformities of the vertebral body, as well as congenital malformations. The spine consists of vertebrae linked together, while in vertebrae there is a nerve system to direct body activities. Therefore, when conducting surgery, the most worrying thing is nerve damage that might cause paralysis. Even deviating from 1 to 2 mm can cause paralysis and disability for life.

During the recent examinations, doctors have found that the number of patients with spinal diseases, especially scoliosis in children, is quite prevalent. However, many of the child patients were brought to hospital quite late, leaving serious psychological effects as they usually feel inferiority to themselves. In addition, spinal curvature also causes negative effects on spinal function, resulting in back pain when distortion is large or vertebrae degeneration and sliding. Moreover, scoliosis curvature can affect respiratory functions because most children will have some kind of ventilation disorder due to their lung capacity being limited by the scoliosis. In particular, scoliosis in women also causes deformity of the spine and pelvis, thus affecting their fertility.

In order to improve the quality of examination and treatment for spinal diseases, the Bach Mai Hospital has been using multiple high-end technologies and putting into use a range of modern systems and equipment for diagnosis and treatment of spinal pathology, such as the 3D O-arm imagining system to help doctors and surgeons accurately locate the position to tighten the screws to "correct" the spine, helping to reduce the rate of re-surgeries due to inaccuracy in positioning, detecting function and failed surgeries as before.