Friday, 21 November 2008

Mending a deformed backbone

Earlier this week I received news that the teenage daughter of a very close friend had undergone major surgery to correct her abnormally curved spine. I was in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday morning for a project meeting and later took the opportunity to visit my friend and his daughter at their home in Shah Alam.

Mariah Raihanah bt. Khushairi is 18 years old. Her backbone has an abnormal lateral (sideways) curvature to the right. The medical term for this condition is scoliosis. It's the first time that I've heard of the term so I looked it up on the internet to learn more.


Scoliosis is more likely to occur in girls than boys. The specific cause of this condition is not known. The spine curves either to the left or right. In some cases, it curves both ways, giving the backbone an S-shape. The degree of curvature is called the Cobb angle and anything above 40 degrees is considered severe. Non-severe curvatures can be corrected using a brace, especially if the condition is detected at a young age. Severe cases can only be rectified by surgery.

Scoliosis is not caused by bad posture, sporting injuries or lifting heavy loads. The condition does not actually cause much pain but if left untreated, may cause complications to other internal organs in future.

Raihan's spine was curved at 48 degrees. She underwent a 5-hour surgery at Damansara Specialist Hospital three weeks ago. Alhamdulillah, the operation was successfully done and she is now recuperating at home.

Khushairi showed me the X-ray images of his daughter's backbone taken before and after the surgery. The `before' image shows a curve in the lower or lumbar region of the backbone. The `after' image shows the affected vertebrae straightened with a short metal rod about 8" long and held in place by five screws. The operation also involved taking a piece of bone from her rib cage, crushing it to a paste that's later used as a filler in between the vertebrae to encourage fusion and therefore restraining the curvature from progressing further.

I cannot but imagine how complicated the procedure must have been and the pain and discomfort that Raihan is going through. But she seemed cheerful enough and very positive when I talked to her.

My wishes to Raihan for speedy recovery. You sure are a brave girl, my child.

8 comments:

Emila Yusof said...

I hope Raihan will recover soon. She's a very brave girl.

D said...

oh dear, that made me wince and cringe... My prayers for dear Raihan, for a quick recovery and good health.

Michelle said...

Backbone problems are the most horrific. I've got a slight pain in my lower back area, though I still have no idea what is wrong.

I had a friend who had the same problem, and she too had to go for surgery. After they corrected her backbone, she actually grew much taller!

Anyway, here's hoping that Raihan recovers well.

Patricia said...

A quick recovery for Raihan! I can only imagine the pain - both of having the problem and the operation.

May she be blessed, and on her feet soon.

Pat

U.Lee said...

Ho Old Stock, wow, this is one scary but outstanding achievement where medical operations are concerned.
I can't even pronounce the word let alone spell it, and the surgeons have corrected it. Impressive.

It is sad that some of us are unfortunate enought to experience these kinds of body problems, but I am happy to read she is alright now.
Here's wishing Mariah a quick recovery.

You have a great week Old Stock, best regards, Lee.

Chahya said...

Hope Raihan will get well soon.

hanitha said...

salam bro n semua kengkawan,
biler bca artikel u nie, teringat sepasang kembar, yang menghadapai masalah seruper, namun hanya seorang shj yg dpt di betulkn tulang belakang tersebut semasa pembedahan. pasangan kembar lgk seorg tk dpt di betulkn. menghadapi komplikasi semasa pembedahan. kita doakan semuanya selamat sejahtera. amin

Oldstock said...

My dear friends,

Emila, D, Michelle, Patricia, Lee, Chahya and Hanitha.

Thank you for your kind thoughts and wishes. I may be visiting Raihan again next week and let her know that you all wished her a speedy recovery.

Thanks.