In a breakthrough development, RAK Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah has become the first hospital in the UAE to perform cervical spine surgery using the 3D printed model on a patient suffering from damaged cervical spine. The new kid on the technology block in the country, use of 3D printed model has added unprecedented accuracy to surgical methods, further reducing the time of the procedure and increasing the chances of success significantly.
Thirty-seven-year-old Amineh Hasan Issa had been suffering from intense neck and arm pain for over past six weeks despite several consultations with physicians and using multiple analgesics to relieve the pain. Moreover, the Jordanian national had also developed weakness in the left hand an obvious sign of serious cervical spine-related issue. A clinical and radiological assessment revealed that she was suffering from cervical radiculopathy due to a ruptured disc compressing the nerves in her neck causing inflammation.
‘Because this was a very delicate procedure, we decided to use the 3D model for superior accuracy. Preoperatively, we sent the patient’s CT and MRI scan data to a 3D print lab 3D Creations in Abu Dhabi. The lab printed a patient-specific anatomical model that reflected the existing condition of the neck, aiding with the exact placement and size of the cage and screws for the surgery, explained Dr Tinku Jose Kurisinkal, Consultant Neurosurgeon at RAK Hospital.
In the cervical spine surgical case, 3D printing not only provides exact anatomical details before the surgery, but also helps in planning the trajectory and size of screws and cages while aiding in their intraoperative placement. This in turn, ensures a superior accuracy, increases patient safety and better clinical outcome. Moreover, it reduces operation time, blood loss and radiation exposure to the patient and surgical team. It is also useful in medical and surgical education and is particularly beneficial for complex pathologies of spine.
‘Correlating with the model in OT, we performed the surgery, removing the disc from between the vertebras, widening the foramen and placing the zero-profile cage in place of the disc, securing it with titanium screws at the top and bottom. In all it took us around two hours to complete the surgery, added Dr Kurisinkal.
The patient Amineh was discharged from hospital on the fourth day of operation, is on her way to quick recovery and able to enjoy a normal life free of pain. She thanked the RAK Hospital surgical team and nursing staff for their care while appreciating the state-of-the-art technology offered at the hospital.
Commenting on the new development, Dr Raza Siddiqui, Executive Director of RAK Hospital said: ‘It is extremely encouraging to see many new innovations making inroads into the UAE, and as always, RAK Hospital remains at the forefront to adopt these new technologies. In the past too, we have been instrumental in bringing innovative healthcare procedures to the UAE, such as balloon dilation technology, gyroscope-based technology for a more accurate alignment in knee replacement and the revolutionary stem cell therapy for the treatment of joint-related issues. Likewise, the 3D printed model holds great promise and we intend to make the best use of it in other surgeries as well.