Spanish Doctors Use Virtual and Augmented Reality to Restore Child’s Arm Movement in Groundbreaking Surgery

virtual and augmented reality
Little Omar had a bad consolidation (bad welding) that prevented him from moving the joint well.

Recently, the Traumatology Unit of the Nuestra Señora del Rosario Polyclinic performed a complex operation on a 14-year-old boy that managed to restore mobility in his arm.

As reported by the center, one of the notable points of the case is the fact that in order to carry out the procedure, the professionals used a new Spanish technology that uses virtual and augmented reality.

“They ignored us”

Omar is a 14-year-old teenager from The Gambia. A little over a year ago, he suffered a fall that caused a fracture in his left arm. 

His father, Abdow, explains the feeling of helplessness in the minor’s native country. “The fracture did not heal well. I knew that something had to be done, but in Gambia and in Can Misses (a public hospital in Ibiza) they did not pay attention to us,” he laments. “He was doing rehabilitation there for a long time, and there came a time when we couldn’t take it anymore because I didn’t see any improvement,” he explains.

“I decided to take him to another place to get another opinion, even if I had to pay,” continues the boy’s father, who has lived in Ibiza for many years. “It was when I decided to take him to the Polyclinic,” he adds. 

“If he didn’t have an operation, he would never recover well”

“Her arm was getting a little smaller,” he details. “He could bend a bit, but there came a point that he couldn’t anymore. He went to school and played and trained soccer, but for example, his hand would get very cold, it would freeze,” he says.

Inma Soriano, the traumatologist who directed the operation, comments to this medium on what these symptoms respond to: “A couple of years ago she fell and sustained a fracture in her elbow called supracondylar. Due to the nature of the injury, the case was surgery, but they did not operate on him and he was left with a deformity called malunion”.

“That greatly limited the mobility of the elbow. Despite this, when his father brought it to him, in Can Misses, they told them to continue with rehabilitation; but the rehabilitators, when they saw the case, realized that if they did not operate, I was never going to regain mobility well,” he continues.

“This has never been done”

“Abdow brought it here,” he recalls, “and when I saw it, I saw that it could be fixed with an osteotomy.” An osteotomy, he points out, “consists of cutting the fracture zone and putting it back in place with a custom plate.”

“This had never been done before,” he qualifies, “because the custom plates are made by a commercial company called Surgical Planning that has designed a browser with virtual and augmented reality. So, with a helmet, a mixed reality is created in which during the operation you can see the fracture and see how to carry out the procedure”.

“I had known them and the traumatologist they work with for years, so I asked them to come and through the Julián Vilás Ferrer Foundation we made it possible,” he adds. This foundation, from the Polyclinic Group, helps people with special needs to be able to afford medical treatments that they cannot otherwise afford.

Also read: Today’s VR Experience is Amazing, “But Here’s What’s to Come”

“Elbow stayed on perfectly”

Specifically, Soriano points out, Omar’s problem was that “when a fracture does not heal well, what it does is stay with the way it was broken. It is a non-functional consolidation, which does not allow mobility of the elbow. Abdow was worried, among other things, because the boy told him that they were bullying him for that”.

For the operation, the doctor points out that a CT scan of the child’s healthy elbow was performed and, based on this, the custom plates were made according to the anatomy of the elbow. Subsequently, the navigator guides the professionals on how to make the cut and how to put the joint back into place based on the healthy elbow: “It took us super little; we didn’t use any radio, so the child didn’t get irradiated and neither did we; and the plates fit perfectly. The elbow fits perfectly.”

Previously, osteotomies had already been performed, but the traumatologist recalls that they were being done by eye, a system by which they are not perfect. There is no certainty of having made the cut and the correct angulation.

“He is playing football every day”

With this, the child is recovering very quickly. “He bends and straightens it well; he’s restored almost 100% mobility and joint balance,” she says.

“He is very happy, Abdow agrees. It doesn’t hurt him; he is playing football every day. He still hasn’t doubled it 100%, but 90 or 95% of the mobility has been recovered,” he says.

Soriano points out that the boy still has some rehabilitation ahead of him to finish completing his recovery: “We operated on him in November, and kinesitherapy has been sent, which is mobility in forced suspension and some muscle gain so that the arm can pick up again some weight. The child still has to develop, so everything will be perfect for him”.

Meanwhile, Abdow is full of thanks to the doctor. “For me, he was the guardian angel. He is a person we can never forget. Thanks to her, everything has been able to end well,” he concludes.

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4 thoughts on “Spanish Doctors Use Virtual and Augmented Reality to Restore Child’s Arm Movement in Groundbreaking Surgery”

  1. Hi there! This article could not be written any better!
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    Fairly certain he will have a very good read. I appreciate you
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