Chennai: Disability cannot be a setback is something that Ira Singhal has proved. Despite suffering from scoliosis, a condition in which the spine has an abnormal curving resembling letter C or S, Ira grabbed the nation’s attention by topping in the UPSC examination.
This bureaucrat’s is one case that caught the attention of everybody. But many suffer from this rare congenital disorder that affects the spine.
Back home, actor Surya played a dual role – a ugly looking youth with a hunch back and a bunny teeth and a handsome guy in the film Perazhagan (most handsome guy) directed by Sasi Shanker in 2004.
Though the condition has been exaggerated in the film it is a case of scoliosis, which is congenital. “There is no proper formation of the bone and in the second case the cause is called as idiopathic, meaning not known,” said orthopeadic spine surgeon Dr Nalli R. Uuvaraj of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital here. Apart from physical deformity the patients also suffer chronic pain. Scoliosis most often affects girls.
Congenital scoliosis occurs when the baby’s ribs or spine bones do not form properly. Neuromuscular scoliosis is another type caused by a nervous system problem that affects the muscles Surgery, costing about `6–7 lakh, is the only option to rectify the spine. Early detection does help prolong life.
RGGGH receives a steady trickle of scoliosis patients from various parts of the state as it is the only government institution that offers specialised surgical treatment. The hospital has a long wait-list of about 20 patients.
This corrective surgery at RGGGH began in 2009. It is a highly technical procedure as a minor error may lead to paralysis of the limbs.
The hospital is endeavouring to upgrade itself as a research and training centre in scoliosis treatment for orthopaedic surgeons from GHs in other districts.
This will reduce waiting period for patients, an official pointed out.
“Not all patients require surgery. It depends on the type, cause and magnitude of curvature and the age of patients,” said Dr Phani Kiran, spine surgeon at the Global Health City.