For years now, P. Prabhu, a car driver, has been spending sleepless nights trying to find a solution to his nine-year-old daughter’s condition – a spinal deformity. All through her formative years, Prabhu watched Abitha walk with a slight hunch and struggle with intense pain.

On Friday though, three months after the child underwent a surgery at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH), Prabhu was looking forward to the day she would fully recover.

“When Abitha was three, we noticed she walked with a slight hunch but we did not know the extent of the problem. She used to complain of pain. We found out that she had a spinal deformity only when she was six,” he said.

Doctors at GH diagnosed Abitha with scoliosis — a sideways curvature of the spine, and performed a surgery using the ‘growing rods’ technique, in March.

“Abitha was brought to us last November. She had an ‘s’-shaped curve in her spine. We opened up the upper end and lower end of the curve. Screws and hooks were inserted at both ends and we tunnelled four rods under the skin. The screws held on to the rods on either ends. The rods will be lengthened every six months to keep up with the child’s growth,” said Nalli R. Uvaraj, professor of spinal surgery at GH.

When the child is older, doctors will remove the rods and perform a spinal fusion operation. Abitha, who is in class IV at a school in Porur, said she felt much better after the surgery.

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