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Father gets back to enjoying life with his kids, pain free after complex spine surgery

Father gets back to enjoying life with his kids, pain free after complex spine surgery

A 51-year-old father of 5, who’s active lifestyle was disrupted with immense arm and neck pain, now feels like he’s “back to life”, after a minimally invasive spine surgery at Fakeeh University Hospital’s Surgical Institute.

For over two years, Greek national Mr. Christos Tsikiloudis, a UAE resident, experienced pain in his left arm and neck after simple movements. Considering it to be a usual neck pain, he consulted a Neurologist who advised physiotherapy and pain medication. Despite following his Drs advice, Mr. Christos felt no relief or improvement in his condition, which is when he finally decided to consult Dr. Tommaso Tufo, Lead Consultant Neurosurgeon – Brain & Spine at Fakeeh University Hospital.

Dr. Tommaso Tufo, advised an MRI of his cervical spine which revealed two prolapsed discs with osteophytes - a piece of bone touching a nerve in the spine causing nerve compression.

A prolapsed disc, commonly called a ‘slipped disc’ is a prevalent condition caused due to age, injury, even poor posture, or a combination of the two. In this condition, a disc usually presses on a nerve root, causing pain and other symptoms.  

“Although a slipped disc can develop anywhere along the spine, it most commonly develops in the lower back. Depending on the position of the slipped disc, it can cause pain, discomfort, numbness, or weakness in the arm or leg. In this case, the two prolapsed discs were completely non-functional and were the primary cause of pain and other troublesome symptoms. This surgery allowed for restoration of normal functioning of the cervical spine and decompression of the nerve roots,” said Dr. Tommaso Tufo, Lead Consultant Neurosurgeon.

Besides being an active and involved father, Mr. Christos is also a sports enthusiast. However, the pain was so significant that it affected his personal, professional life and everything he loved to do.

Upon complete diagnosis, a surgical plan was charted out by Dr. Tommaso Tufo. Cervical Anterior Decompression, a 3-hour long surgery was performed to remove & replace the prolapsed discs with a new generation of prosthesis discs. This is a minimally invasive surgery, involving a small incision at the front side of the neck near the throat. In the same surgery, the bone compressing the nerve was also removed to relieve pressure on the nerve.

“My experience at the hospital from the moment I was admitted had been fabulous. For the first time in many years, I don't feel any pain in my arm or neck. For such a difficult and complicated surgery, you need to trust only the best in Dubai, and I believe that my choice of hospital and Dr. Tommaso was the absolute best,” said Mr. Christos.

Mr. Christos felt immediate relief as he did not have the usual pain he experienced otherwise when he moved his arm or neck. He was mobilized one day after surgery, without a collar despite undergoing a major neck surgery. He drove to work 4 days after surgery and was advised to begin intense sports/strenuous physical activities 3 months after.

“I traveled to Greece with my family, 5 weeks after the surgery for Christmas and New year holidays. I now look forward to the next 3 months for complete healing of the vertebrae bones to start the vigorous-intensity activities that I love,” added Mr. Christos.

Such complex minimally invasive surgeries can only be performed by a highly skilled and experienced Neurosurgeon. Well-equipped to manage complex surgical undertakings, FUH’s Surgical Institute offers a multidisciplinary approach to manage complex cases like this. A unified team approach by the hospital’s skilled and experienced surgeons, anesthetists, nurses, interventional radiologists, technicians & support staff help in precise diagnosis, faster recovery & better outcomes. Minimally invasive surgeries with faster recovery time help you return to your routine life with ease.

More about the health condition - Disc Prolapse

Prolapsed Disc or a Slipped Disc develops when the nucleus pulposus, a soft substance inside the intervertebral disc, ruptures due to damage to the outer fibers of the disc. Although a slipped disc can develop anywhere along the spine, it most commonly develops in the lower back.

The most common cause of slipped disc is disc degeneration, which is slow, aging-related wear and tear. The discs grow increasingly fragile and vulnerable to rupture or tear with even a slight twist or pressure as people age. However, chances of developing this condition are higher if you are overweight, smoke frequently, have a sedentary lifestyle, or are engaged in driving for prolonged times. Good news is that you can lower your chances of slipped discs by maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular exercise, maintaining good posture, and by quitting smoking.