In the last few years, the field of spine surgery has witnessed many innovations. From robotics to navigation, spine surgery has now become safer and has allowed spine surgeons to undertake complex spine operations.
Dr Gaurav Raj Dhakal is Consultant Spine Surgeon and Associate Professor at National Trauma Center, National Academy of Medical Sciences and Om Hospital. After high school, he studied medicine from Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara and did his post graduation from Kathmandu University. Dr Dhakal has completed a two year clinical spine fellowship from Kolkata, India and advanced spine trainings from Columbia University, New York Presbyterian Allen Spine Hospital, Miami Children’s Hospital and Rileys’ Children’s Hospital, Indianapolis, and Toyama University in Japan.
Here, he sheds light on the Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery recently introduced in Nepal.
How is MISS different from traditional spine surgery?
Traditional spine surgery requires an incision at the back. The length of the incision varies and after healing, a scar forms which may be cosmetically unpleasant to the patient. Through MISS, the skin incision is minimum. Rather it is performed through small holes in the skin, hence the cosmesis is more appealing.
Is MISS only about the aesthetics?
Because MISS is performed through small holes in the skin, the surgical insult to the deeper structures like the paraspinal muscles is highly reduced, there is less intraoperative bleeding and only required parts are exposed. All these translate into quicker postoperative recovery of the patient and early return to activity and work.
Is the technology expensive?
When compared to open spine surgery, the costs involved in terms of hospital admission days, medications prescribed and days lost from work, turn out to be cheaper in MISS.
Is the equipment used for MISS at par with the international spine centers?
I feel proud to inform you that the equipment available, at both the hospitals I am associated with, are of international make and from a US FDA approved manufacturer. It is the latest technology we have introduced in Nepal.
Spine surgery is relatively new in Nepal, how do you perceive the future?
We are gradually but definitely reaching our set goal of affordable, holistic, excellent spine care utilising the best available technology for safer spine surgery. From spine fractures to tumors, infections, deformity and degenerative conditions, treatment is available in Nepal.