Manila Doctors Hospital sets a worldwide milestone in neck spine surgery
Recently, the Manila Doctors Hospital’s (MDH) Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (Cath Lab) became the site for a surgical first in the world procedure. Cervical Inter-Facet Distraction Decompression (CIFDD), a procedure conceptualized by a group of surgeons from the University of California in San Francisco, was successfully performed on two volunteer patients by a team of Filipino surgeons under the guidance of their American counterparts. What is revolutionary with this procedure is that everything is done in a very minimally invasive process through two small (1.5 centimeter) incisions over the skin to deliver the implant to the desired areas of the cervical spine.
Implants are placed between the facet joint (joint connecting one spine to another) of the affected level of the cervical spine that would gradually distract it to open up the hole thereby releasing and decompressing the nerve. After the procedure, the patient would be relieved of painful symptoms. This new procedure will soon become an alternative to open disc removal or discectomy procedure for people suffering from a condition called recalcitrant cervical radiculopathy (a nerve root trapped in the cervical spine).
Dr. Rafael Cruz Bundoc, a visiting consultant of MDH and the primary investigator from UP-PGH, and Dr. Jose Manuel Ignacio of MDH’s Department of Orthopedics performed the successful first two operations.
“By using the Bi-Planar Image Intensifier of the Manila Doctors Hospital’s new Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (Cardiac Cath Lab), we are able to ensure precise trajectory of placing the implant in the cervical spine since the procedure is percutaneous (i.e. through needle puncture) and minimally invasive,” Dr. Bundoc said.
The procedure passed the US Food and Drug Administration but did not have a clinical study yet. Due to the expensive cost of clinical trials in the US, it is not uncommon to find these trials outsourced. Recognizing the expertise of Filipino doctors, the American designers decided to do the procedure in the Philippines. With the help of a reputable independent Clinical Research Organization, approval by the Bureau of Food and Drug was meticulously processed. Three hospitals were chosen and among them, the Manila Doctors Hospital.
MDH Medical Director Dr. Dante D. Morales, with the Cardiac Cathlab Head, Dr. Rogelio Tangco has been supportive and open to other specialists using the facilities available at the newly opened Cardiovascular Center (CVC) of MDH. The MDH CVC is the only bi-plane system in a private hospital in the Philippines that was launched just May of this year.
One of the leading centers of health and wellness in the Philippines, the Manila Doctors Hospital is Metrobank Foundation’s healthcare affiliate. The Foundation actively supports the Hospital’s operations and provides funds for a wide array of social services, which includes subsidies for in-house charity patients, outreach programs and health-related interventions in adopted communities, and research. The Hospital was recently recertified as an ISO 9001:2000 institution and is poised to become a key player in the growing medical tourism industry.