Burjeel Hospital Surgical Innovation
Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi’s premier healthcare facility, has claimed a place among the most revolutionary hospitals in the world. Professor Amr El Shawarbi, Consultant Neurosurgeon and Medical Director of Neurosciences (VPS), and his team have performed a rare and complicated back surgery, done for the first time in the UAE.
The patient, AI, came to Dr. Amr complaining of chronic low back pain. She had already had a bilateral knee replacement surgery but was not responding to conservative medical treatment. Her pain was getting more and more severe, and she was unable to live a normal life. Prof Amr knew that a conventional procedure would not help the patient. He and his team needed to be more innovative with the solution.
A regular surgical procedure would involve going into the patient through the back, which was not possible in this case. So Prof Amr performed an Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion surgery, wherein the surgery was performed from the side. This kind of procedure is not only unusual but also extremely rare. The reason for this is the complicated nature of the procedure. The surgeon has to be very precise and careful as the point of entry is unusual. Once the discs were removed, and the scoliotic angulation was readjusted, Prof Amr combined it with a posterior minimally invasive fusion.
Says Prof Amr, “This kind of surgery has never been done in the UAE. At Burjeel, we are constantly striving to provide state-of-the-art treatment options to our patients, and this is just one example of that.” In addition to alleviating the patient’s problem, this kind of surgery is also faster than conventional procedures – it takes about an hour and a half. The incision is also very small, therefore recovery is faster. Although the advantages are many, the procedure is rarely opted for, as it requires great expertise and experience.
Prof Amr El Shawarbi has years of experience under his belt, having come to the UAE from Germany. Over the years, he has been credited with developing skull-based surgery, complex spine surgery, establishing the first stroke program, pediatric neurosurgery, and Neuromodulation. He was also the President of the Emirates Neuroscience Society, the President of the Pan Arab Neurosurgical Society, and is currently the Vice President of The World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies. Burjeel Hospital remains at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement with this surgery, as it paves the way for more such procedures in the future.