x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

First spinal-injury centre to offer alternative to overseas treatment

The nation's first spinal-injury centre will significantly improve chances of recovery for seriously injured patients.

ABU DHABI // The nation's first spinal-injury centre will significantly improve chances of recovery for seriously injured patients, who would normally have to travel abroad for treatment, and promises to save millions of dirhams a year for treating spinal cases. Mubadala Healthcare, the specialist division of Mubadala Development, announced yesterday the centre would be built in Zayed Sports City and operated by the Wooridul Spine Hospital of South Korea.

Using techniques developed in South Korea, the centre will provide minimally invasive surgery under local anaesthetics. Recovery is faster and there are fewer complications with such surgery. It will also provide spine-disease prevention, diagnosis, testing, treatment, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. At present, people paralysed by spinal injuries - as well as people with minor spinal injuries that cause lesser mobility problems - are routinely treated outside the country, often in hospitals in Europe, at significant cost to the Ministry of Health.

"Our research shows that orthopaedic patients in the region - and those with spine injuries in particular - make up the largest proportion of people who currently travel abroad for treatment," said Mark Erhart, executive director of Mubadala Healthcare. "The creation of this spine centre seeks to address the prevalence of spine problems and lower-back injuries in the region." Spinal injuries are a significant medical problem for the region as many are caused by trauma, such as in car crashes.

In the most severe circumstances, spinal-cord damage can result in paralysis. However, less-severe damage can also be debilitating. The centre is expected to open in 2010. amcmeans@thenational.ae