Taiwan medical miracle brings new life to Indonesian patient
By Joy Lee, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Elieraini Halim, who could not climb stairs after suffering years of backaches, obtained relief after receiving spine surgery in Taiwan, according to Taipei Medical University Hospital (TMUH) Friday.
January 20, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
TMUH said that 70-year-old Halim had suffered from spinal disc herniation, spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis, medical conditions affecting the spine due to trauma or lifting injuries, for almost 10 years. She was always in great pain after walking even short distances.
She said: “Sometimes, I felt pain on the back of my thighs and my hips. I could not walk to the second floor of my house because it would cause me too much pain. This disease made it so inconvenient for me to live normally.”
According to TMUH, a few months ago, Halim and her family watched a National Geographic Channel documentary called “Taiwan's Medical Miracle” and noticed that one of the patients in the documentary suffered from a disease similar to Halim's and was successfully cured through minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) at TMUH.
“I thought about having surgery in Indonesia,” Halim said, “but I was scared that complications from the operation would make it so I would never walk again. However, I was encouraged by the successful case of the patient who had a similar disease as mine, so I decided to seek medical treatment at TMUH.”
Halim said that her son started to do research on the medical team at TMUH and found that they are experienced at performing minimally invasive procedures. She and her family flew to Taiwan on Dec. 22 for the surgery.
“The surgery only took two hours, which was less than I expected,” Halim said. “Hours after the surgery, I could not feel the pain in my left leg anymore. I could even bend my left leg, which was impossible for me to do before.”
TMUH Vice Superintendent Lo Wen-cheng (羅文政), who was in charge of the surgery, said “MISS is a new kind of spine surgery that leaves a smaller wound compared to traditional methods. Therefore, patients can recover faster and have a lower chance of infection.”
Lo said that MISS procedures have become a more common surgery in Taiwan since 2010. Even though it is a difficult surgery, it minimizes muscle and bone damage. Patients who suffer from severe spinal disc herniation and spondylolisthesis can consider undergoing this surgery to relieve the pain.
Halim said, “I went to Guangxi, China for less aggressive treatment, which involved using needle knives to relieve the pain. However, the treatment was very painful and it could not cure the disease completely.”
According to TMUH, Halim has recovered well and she is now able to walk without feeling pain. Even though she still needs to practice how to evenly distribute weight to both legs, she is expected to make a full recovery.