Ankylosing Spondylitis is a rare condition that affects the spine. In this conditions that spine bones joined up together to make the spine very stiff. Not only that, the spine usually becomes hunched.
With mild hunched back, the patient is able to do daily activities without much interruption. But when the hunched back is severe, the patient can no longer gaze straight ahead. Instead, the patient’s gaze is looking down. This makes walking difficult and dangerous. The patient can trip and fall very easily. With stiff spine injury to the back can cause some serious complications such as unstable spine fracture and spinal cord injury which may lead to paralysis.
When the hunched is severe and independent walking is no longer safe, operation to correct the hunched back (pedicle substraction osteotomy) is recommended. This is a major operation to make the posture more upright again.
There is strict selection criteria for this operation. It may not be suitable for a very old people with multiple medical problems. It is recommended for patients with good health who can tolerate major surgery and have good potential for rehabilitation.
Author: Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho), Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon, Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore