Nation-wide camp to screen children for spinal deformities


1.5 lakh schoolchildren between 10 and 14 years of age to be screened

Association of Spine Surgeons of India (ASSI) has launched a nation-wide programme to screen 1.5 lakh schoolchildren between 10 and 14 years of age for scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, and other spinal deformities.

The data from the two-year-long screening to be started from October will be used to study the prevalence of spinal deformity in the country.

e-learning programme

“The first phase of the screening will target schools in 14 cities including Coimbatore. ASSI also plans to launch an e-learning programme for consumers and one part of it will be on spinal deformities, which would enable common people to identify spinal deformity”, said H. S. Chhabra, ASSI president and chief of Spine Service and Medical Director, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi.

The abnormal curvature of the spine is usually found in children aged below 14. However, late presentation of disease remains a major problem in India due to lack of awareness and absence of medical screenings.

According to Dr. Chhabra, while many cases of curvature are mild and require only ongoing observation, other cases can worsen with time and require active treatment such as bracing and surgery. Such deformities can have devastating consequences on cosmetic appearance and neurological function.

“Screening for spinal deformity is an established process worldwide. However, in India we do not have comprehensive screening programmes that result in late presentation of the condition. Through our screening programme, we aim to reach out to around 10,000 kids in each city,” he said.

“Other less common curvatures of the spine include lordosis, an accentuated forward curvature of the lower spine, and kyphosis, a rounding of the upper spine. Notably, curve progression occurs at rates 7 to 8 times higher in girls than boys,” says Shankar Acharya, president-elect of ASSI, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi.

“Recent advances in spine surgery including neuro-monitoring, navigation, robotic technology and minimally invasive surgery have helped make spinal surgery highly safe and effective today. Innovations in spine care and deformity surgery have also helped significantly improve outcomes in affected people”, said ASSI secretary Ajoy P. Shetty from Ganga Hospital, Coimbatore.

Trained medical officers

The spine examination will be conducted in schools by medical officers or nurses who are trained by the ASSI task force member of the city. All the data collected will be private and confidential, said ASSI in a release.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 4:51:07 PM |

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