"I am a senior professor at a university hospital but have suffered unimaginable pain from my back and leg over the past three years. And I’ve never thought anyone could solve that pain like this.”
Atlasov Vladimir, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University Hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia, made the remark recently after a successful surgery to cure a severe spinal stenosis, at Busan Wooridul Spine Hospital.
Professor Vladimir said he had received several injection treatments for his back and leg pain, but the relief was temporary making no significant differences.
In recent years, the symptoms became so severe that the Russian doctor could not walk some 500 meters without a rest. Nor could he treat patients let alone delivering lectures.
After much thought, Vladimir sent an email to the Busan Wooridul Spine Hospital부산우리들병원, which had been well known in Russia, too, for specializing in spine diseases, at the recommendation of an acquaintance treated at the hospital months ago. He discussed specific treatments and costs through the emails and decided to go on a two-week trip to Busan without hesitation.
|Dr. Lee Sang-jin of Busan Wooridul Spine Hospital (left), who performed surgery on Professor Atlasov Vladimir, stands with his patient and a nurse.|
A precision diagnosis found the primary cause of pain was spinal stenosis in several parts of his back. Stenosis of the spinal canal is the nerve compression that causes the ligaments and joints around the nerve to become rigid and thick. It is a common degenerative spinal disease caused by aging, characterized by symptoms of gait abnormality.
Professor Vladimir was diagnosed with not only spinal stenosis but also anterior spinal displacement, where the bone pushed forward, as well as disk prolapse where the disc presses the nerve.
"If you have spinal stenosis in several places like Professor Vladimir, the bone will rattle over time if you just enlarge the spinal column by removing the bones and ligaments broadly,” said Professor Lee Sang-jin이상진, a specialist at Busan Wooridul Hospital. “So we judged ligamentoplasty to insert a cord-type artificial ligament was considered a suitable treatment.”
In conducting the conventional surgery of spinal stenosis, doctors opt to expand periphery of nerves by removing thickened ligaments or enlarged bones. This treatment, however, has high risks of recurrence and side effects. If accompanied by anterior spondyloarthropathies or anterior displacement, it is considered to be the most advanced treatment to use ligamentoplasty, which removes part of the hardened ligaments and inserts a strap-like artificial ligament to prevent it from moving.
Since it is not a surgery to remove the disc or fix it with a screw, it has few side effects, allows for quick recovery, and can be performed safely on elderly patients with hypertension and diabetes.
After the surgery, Prof. Vladimir said leg pains that had plagued over the past three years had gone away with a bright smile.
"Before I decided which hospitals and treatments to choose from, I had heard a lot of advice from fellow doctors and acquaintances in Russia," he said. “ I would like to thank the medical staff at Busan Wooridul Spine Hospital who provided excellent treatment.”
The head of the Korean hospital also appeared encouraged.
"We treat light spinal stenosis with simple procedures such as epidural nerve grafting or ballooning, but the most reliable and non-relapsing treatment for severe spinal stenosis is ligamentoplasty,” said Chun Sang-hyup, head of the hospital, stressing that foremost is accurate diagnosis because treatments vary depending on the patient's symptoms and causes.
“We will continue to do our best to maintain our pride as the world's best hospital in the field of spinal disease, given foreigners are visiting our hospital trusting its advanced treatment."
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