This 18 Year Old Gymnast Overcame Paralysis After Surgery

01/04/2015 5:16 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Hands of gymnast hanging on bar

GURGAON — A 18-year old gymnast, who sustained a severe cervical spine injury causing paralysis, successfully underwent a surgery here, doctors said on Wednesday.

Sachin, a national-level gymnast from Haryana, suffered a fall while performing a complex gymnastics manoeuvre during a practice session and broke his neck bone which left him paralysed.

After he was taken to the hospital, it was found that he had sustained a serious cervical spine injury with quadriplegia -- paralysis of arms and legs.

Realising the seriousness of the injury, Sachin was referred to the spine department of the city-based Paras hospital. A team of doctors led by Arun Bhanot, chief of spine services, was formed to look into the case.

They decided that a complex set of surgeries on his neck was the only option to provide a realistic chance of survival and recovery from paralysis.

"After stabilising the patient's condition with medicines, we assessed it to be a dislocation of AC4-5 vertebra in the neck causing damage to the spinal cord that led to paralysis. We decided to immediately conduct a surgery as we did not want to lose any more time," Bhanot said during a post surgery conference held in the hospital.

According to the doctors, Sachin underwent two spine surgeries at the same time -- one from the front of the neck and the second from the back of the neck.

"After the spine surgeries, the patient showed a remarkable improvement within the next 24 hours, and has continued to improve ever since. All his four limbs have started moving," said Bhanot.

"Within 3 days of the operation, Sachin regained enough strength in his legs, so much that the doctors were able to make him stand on his own. With both age and will power on his side and accurate medical help, Sachin managed to achieve a feat that surprised even his doctors," added Bhanot.

Talking about the spinal and brain injury, health experts said it is one of the most critical injuries since it impacts the entire central nervous system.

They said unlike an injured hand whose impact would be limited to just itself, an injured spine has implications for the entire body. It may leave a person paralysed for life.

Bhanot said the incidence of recovery in such injuries is abysmally low even at the best of centres in the world.

"Getting prompt medical treatment within a couple of hours of his injury, followed by correct set of surgeries under expert hands within the first 24 hours of injury provided stability to his unstable spine," said Bhanot.

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