A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord that causes temporary or permanent changes in its function. India gets lot of such patients especially from countries like Nigeria, Saudi and Iraq. Symptoms may include loss of muscle function, sensation, or autonomic function in the parts of the body served by the spinal cord below the level of the injury. Injury can occur at any level of the spinal cord and can be complete injury, with a total loss of sensation and muscle function, or incomplete, meaning some nervous signals are able to travel past the injured area of the cord. Depending on the location and severity of damage, the symptoms vary, from numbness to paralysis to incontinence. Long term outcomes also ranges widely, from full recovery to permanent tetraplegia (also called quadriplegia) or paraplegia. Complications can include muscle atrophy, pressure sores, infections, and breathing problems.
Surgery is advised by the neurosurgeon for such cases with severe injury to spinal cord. The main reason for spinal cord injury surgery is to relieve excess pressure on the cord so that the spine can be stabalized and the vertebrae can be put in proper place. The international as well Indian patients we have seen that if surgery is not done immediately then the condition of the patient can worsen in some cases. If there is any compression on the cord due to a fractured bone or blood clots then also the surgery should be performed without much delay. However if the patient has many other injuries and the general condition is not good then we do not rush for the surgery and a more conservative approach like bed rest, cervical collars, motion restriction devices are used. Traction may be used to reduce the pressure on the spinal cord.
At Siddh Hospital all the spine patients are being managed by our Neurosurgery team which is led by Dr SK Gupta who is one of the most renowned neurosurgeons in India. Spinal Injury patients require long hospitalization and if any surgery is done then it must be followed by proper rehabilitation. Any spine surgery patient requires extensive rehabilitation after the surgery and our team of physiotherapists make sure that your recovery is as per the schedule. For this the rehab team takes charge of the patient within 24 hours of the surgery and exercises are started even on the patient bed. Full recovery in cases of spinal injury is very difficult to achieve and the treatment may last for several years.
The cost of treatment in cases of spinal injury patients is typically Rs. 15-20 thousand for each day of stay in the ICU and Rs. 8-10 thousand for each day of stay in the ward. If any kind of surgery is needed then the cost for the surgery would be extra.