DUBAI: Scoliosis—the condition wherein the spine curves due to genetic and environmental factors that may be diagnosed from early childhood to adolescence—must be immediately addressed, according to a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon in the past 18 years.
Interviewed, Dr. Zaid Al Aubaidi added: “I also believe that all congenital deformities like all spinal problems and issues and not only scoliosis must be included in health insurance policies. Idiopathic scoliosis appears after the age of 13.
“It is unethical not to because these are life-threatening to any individual, especially to the young who undergo and experience and will continually experience physical, psychological, emotional and social problems.”
He said global, regional and UAE records show that scoliosis is determined in three per cent of the population while there are other spinal deformities such as kyphosis (hunchback) and generally it is the girls or women who suffer the most.
Twenty-five years in the medical field, Al Aubaidi decided to become a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon because he saw the need.
He explained that orthopaedic surgery is all about helping the young, analysed with spinal abnormalities, to become the “Straight Child” in order that their skeletal and muscular systems function well.
Saying “the head must be balanced with the pelvis,” Al Aubaidi reasoned that any spinal mis-alignment impacts on the vital organs.
“It is difficult when they get older,” he said, pointing out that with aging come stiffness and the inability to flex that consequently leads to muscle and skeletal strains that will affect the “ability to see.”
Al Aubaidi attends to between two and three young to teen-age scoliotic patients every week at his clinic in Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery in Dubai, coming from across the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Jordan.
The youngest on record is aged three while the eldest is 17 years old.
For these patients, he uses the Magec Rods or the Magnetic Expansion Control Technology, a 2012 invention and which he introduced in the country in 2014 after it got the clearance from the European Medicine Agency.
US hospitals started using the technology in 2015 after it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Al Aubaidi said that with the technology, rods are embedded on the deformed spine through surgery.
The aim is to ease the burden of periodic surgeries on young scoliotic patients.
Once embedded, the rods are lengthened from time to time which may last for several minutes only per session.