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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Doctors perform rare tumour removal surgery on 10-year-old


The child’s struggle ended following a life-changing surgery.

Al-Ahli hospital doctors managed to help a ten-year-old patient get her life back to normal after a successful yet complicated surgery was performed to remove a rare spinal cord tumour.

More than two months of upper back pain quickly worsened and affected the child’s ability to attend school, sleep and even breathe.

According to Dr. El Fatih Bashir Elmalik, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Al-Ahli, the child had also had difficulty in walking due to the effect of the tumour on her lower limbs. She was only diagnosed when the Orthopedic Clinic requested a thoracic Spine MRI.

“The child’s parents stated that she was suffering from a severe upper back pain which made it hard for her to even breathe. They have taken the child to different healthcare facilities but she was not correctly diagnosed,” said Dr. Elmalik.

He added that the second thoracic vertebral body has collapsed due to the tumour’s invasion, also causing a compression on the little girl’s spinal cord.

Read also: Sidra Medicine saves life of teen with rare heart disease

The surgery, which was immediately requested following MRI results, included the removal of the pressure from the spinal cord, as well as repair and fixation of the damaged vertebral body.

Doctors were later able to diagnose the tumor’s material in the laboratory after it was removed.

“The main challenge in this case was how to safely get access to this tumour. That was because of the anatomical location of this part of the spine directly behind the major blood vessels and the heart. Accordingly, the surgical procedure was planned carefully using the CT-scan and MRI,” said Dr. Elmalik. 

A team of neurosurgeons and vascular surgeons worked through the lower part of the front of the child’s neck to reach the spine in the upper part of her chest. 

“Using the operating microscope and micro instruments total resection of the tumour was possible with adequate relief of the spinal cord. Repair of the damaged spinal column was achieved by using a special replacement device that was anchored in place by plate and screws under X-ray guidance,” said Dr. Elmalik.

“Surgery allowed immediate decompression of the spinal cord and restoration of the normal anatomy of the spinal column,” Dr. Elmalik added.

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