Chennai’s Kauvery Hospital has successfully treated a 2-year-old girl who was diagnosed with Spondylolisthesis of the L5-S1 vertebra - a complete slippage of one vertebra over the other. The girl developed sudden back and leg pain, and she was unable to move or walk. Slowly, there was a lump that developed on her lower back and she was immediately taken to a local hospital for diagnosis. “The child had MRI scan and after a few investigations, it was clearly confirmed that the child had severe spinal cord and nerve compression and needed surgery,” said Dr G Balamurali, Head of Department Spine Surgery, Kauvery Hospital.
Spondylolisthesis in the lower spine or lower back is where there is a slip of one vertebrae over the other causing spinal cord and nerve root compression. This is usually caused due to trauma, degeneration or congenital problems. This condition is common in adolescents and ageing adults.
However, this condition is rare among children and there is no documented medical literature that details a treatment plan for this disorder. Only a few cases have been treated successfully at this age. “The challenges in such a young age are the undeveloped soft bones. The treatment had excellent results, with the child's deformity precisely corrected. There were no further complaints of back or leg pain. Two months after the surgery, the child was able to walk straight and resume her normal activities,” added Dr Balamurali.
The child belonged to the fishermen community and her family could not afford the surgery. Hence various sources of funding were raised through the Thalirgal project - an initiative of Rotary Club of Madras North, Tamil Nadu Government, Kauvery Hospital and some outside donors through crowdfunding helped to perform the surgery.
Speaking on the uniqueness of the case, Dr Manivannan Selvaraj, Founder & Managing Director, Kauvery Hospital said, “So far, the youngest case with a similar diagnosis reported worldwide was of a 3-year-old child, and this treatment by Kauvery Hospital on a 2-year-old child is the first case reported worldwide. I congratulate Dr Balamurali and team for successfully treating the child and relieving her from the agony of immobility.”