BRAIN AND SPINE SURGERY previously called SFIA Integrated Services Ltd. The acronym SFIA stands for SPINE: Fixed in Abuja. Now of course, our new acronym is BASS. BRAIN AND SPINE SURGERY
The company is geared towards directing medical tourism into Abuja, Nigeria. Brain diseases, neck and back pains can be conveniently managed in Abuja and Abuja is set to be the destination for Nigerians with brain trauma, spine trauma and degenerative diseases. We intend to reassure Nigerians that these problems can and are being fixed successfully in Abuja. This is because there are trained surgeons in Abuja offering specialised neurological care with a full surgical team backup and the necessary equipment.
Medical tourism for back pain
Mr Glory Chinda turned out to be one of the most interesting patients I have ever had. This gentleman was seen recently and underwent surgical intervention for severe back and left leg pains. The 39 year old father of four came from PortHarcourt to Abuja. This is like internal medical tourism in Nigeria. He said he had read an article about a woman with back pains and the description was exactly like his symptoms. In other words, the pain in his left leg was like electric shocks, akin to a million pins being stuck in his leg. The leg pain is what we call sciatica.
He presented with electric pains in the whole of the left leg due to a disc prolapsed at L4/L5 causing significant narrowing of the spinal canal through which all his nerves travel. This had been ongoing for 6 months and interfering with his life. Sleeping, walking, sitting, standing and work were all affected by unrelenting pain in the leg. Even pain killers only lasted a few hours in ameliorating the pain.
We reviewed the MRI scans performed at Lifebridge Diagnostic Centre in Garki. He had a huge disc prolapse which required surgical intervention. The operation was performed successfully at Garki Hospital, Abuja and he recovered well.
Post surgery care and recovery
He noticed immediate improvement in the back and leg pains. His walking ability and comfort had also improved significantly. The specific instructions for similar patients are that they need to take things easy for about 8 weeks following the operation. This is a major spine operation though with good early recovery. However, disc prolapses can recur so patients need to take things easy and allow healing to be completed before undertaking serious work again.
Also, physiotherapy and back care instructions are important. No heavy lifting and no sitting for prolonged periods. In fact, one surgeon tells his patients not lift anything heavier than a cup of tea.
Most patients are anxious to return to work but this should be phased. I often caution against an early return to active duty. When they return to work, it should be to undertake light duties for a few hours a day and no more. Then a reassessment is done before commencement of full duty requirements.
The diagnosis and treatment in this case was carried out within 24 hours. This is much less than the time it takes to get a visa and travel hundreds of miles to another country. It means that he obtained relief from his pains in a short time and so can start the healing process early. There are some illnesses such as spinal cord injury and nerve compression requiring immediate medical attention that cannot wait for the flight to other countries. Also post operative follow up and care is assured locally.
The key issues are that medical tourism is eroding the fabric of our own health services and further depleting the nation of medical facilities and expertise. It demoralises local medical practitioners and increases the brain drain. It reduces training of medical students, further creating substandard and poorly trained doctors to look after us all in the future. It simply creates a vicious circle we must break free of.
The colossal sum of money spent abroad could be used to equip more local hospitals in Nigeria to perform even more in delivering care. We need to develop our local hospitals and help prepare them to be able to help when it really matters. Supporting the local hospitals and ensuring that it has both personnel and equipment may be the difference between life and death. Many patients have gone to other countries and return dead or injured despite colossal sums of money spent.
Now let me bring you a personal account from Chief Cosmas Ighoraye in the video below.
BASS is located at 8 Buchanan Crescent Wuse 2 Abuja, Nigeria.
Tel:0812 222 1616