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Spinal surgery and titanium plates


MANILA, Philippines—Former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is currently under close medical supervision due to an infection she got after undergoing a second cervical spine operation on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011.

But what type of surgery did she first undergo on July 29, 2011?

Cervical spine surgery is done to relieve pain or discomfort in the said area, prevent further injuries to the nerves in the area, or help correct proper spine movements, according to an article on SpineUniverse.

The surgery is usually done first by removing the problematic disc or bone in

the area, and then fusing the vertebrae together with bone grafts or metal plates, screws, or wires.

In the case of Arroyo, she suffered from recurring neck pain due to a damaged cervical spine, which was due to “multilevel cervical spondulosis” or the wearing of the bones, causing the compression of nerves responsible for respiratory and arm muscle movements.

Doctors at the St. Luke’s Medical Center at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig conducted an anterior cervical distectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery, an operation where doctors first removed the problematic cervical disc, then stabilized the spine.

ACDF, according to the website Spine Health, has four major steps—opening the affected area, removing the disc, canal decompression, and then cervical fusion.

Doctors would first make an incision at the front of the neck to reach the spine, and then they remove most of the offending disc and other tissue that might have spilled out to the surrounding areas.

Afterwards, a bone graft is inserted into the vacated disc area, and then the two vertebrae sandwiching the space is “fused” to form a single unit with the help of a cervical plate.

In Arroyo’s case, she was fitted with a titanium-alloy plate, which doctors at St Luke’s Medical Center said could cost “a few hundred thousand pesos.”

The implants made of titanium alloy are strong and resistant to wear and tear, unlike plastic ones. These help stabilize the spine, and promote the restoration and proper functioning of the affected parts.

Many patients can recover in days post-surgery, but some can experience complications. These include dislodging of the implants, inadequate symptom relief, failure to create vertebral fusion, swallowing or speech disturbance, infection, bleeding, or damage to the spinal cord, trachea, or esophagus.

On Wednesday, doctors held off a revision surgery to address the dislodging of Arroyo’s titanium implants due to an infection. Her doctors are currently conducting tests to determine the cause of the complication.—Newsbreak


CATEGORY: Current Events, Health, Science & Technology
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  1. Dexter S. Aison says:

    Very informative article but a lot of medical terms mispelled. It could have had some editing by a specialist before publishing. Thanks.

  2. Poetic justice… Similar to Archbishop Lamberto’s remark to Mafia Boss, Michael Corleone: (Godfather III)

    “Your sins are terrible. It it is but just that you suffer.”!/video/video.php?v=10150257254753736&oid=159162927486012&comments

  3. Johnny lin says:

    Astute observation. “spondulosis” could either be spondulosis or spondylolisthesis depending on the medical condition. “distectomy” should be discectomy(removal of disc). “Ectomy” medically is removal, cutting or extraction used as suffix to; like removal of appendix is appendectomy, colon- colectomy.
    Titanium however hypoallergenic is still a foreign body. Immune reaction or rejection of foreign body by the body is subjective or individualistic. Nobody could absolutely predict who would show signs of ejection, no matter how minuscule. It is a possibility on GMA, then infection sets in.

  4. Johnny lin says:

    Correction, should be spondylosis or spondylolisthesis. Also rejection, not ejection. Now I see how the author could have committed typo, its on touch qwerty. Can’t be done too fast.
    Sorry Jcc, comment should be actually addressed to Dexter. You love and learn from good movies too. Try Rise of the planet of the apes. You might decide to retire in the Philippines based on ape spoken 3 words!

  5. I will get a copy of the of Rise of the Planet Of The Apes, if you say so Johnny.. :) That confession of Michael to the Archbishop was one of the hight points in the movie. The other one is when his investment with Immobiliare was being screwed and he said something like this:

    “I was trying to get out (from the evil of gangsterism), but they always pull me back.”..

  6. Arroyo’s body rejects the titanium implant because it was paid for by money stolen from public coffers.

  7. Tony Bayamban says:

    The pain man receives is not necessarily a payment of wrong things he has done… even the good one do suffers terrible illness…

  8. Johnny lin says:

    Devil’s advocate: everything is all for show manipulated by the media handlers of GMA. Nothing really happened except that portraying serious complications and sufferings could elicit kindness and sympathy, aside being shielded from the barrage of charges and investigations by the administration. Archbishop Cruz already blew his whistle,”time out”. Repercussion though, could be worst if proven that the public is being taken for a ride.

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