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Spinal surgery a success for 17-year-old

CHANGHAI Hospital announced yesterday two operations performed on a 17-year-old boy with a rare congenital brain abnormality were a success.

The 17-year-old Italian-born Chinese boy suffers severe curvature of the spine and a rare condition that causes part of his cerebellum tissue to fall into his spinal cord.

Born in Italy, Giacomo Wang was found to have a severely curved spine. By the age of 15, he had developed a hump on his back and his shoulders stood at different heights. His curved spine effected Wang's mobility and self-esteem, his mother said.

"My parents were very anxious and took me to see many doctors in Italy," Wang told Shanghai Daily.

Italian doctors did not know what was wrong with Wang and prescribed exercise and X-ray checkups every year.

The patient turned to Shanghai's hospitals after learning there was a six-month waiting list for X-rays in Italy.

The family came to Changhai Hospital six months ago and the boy received brain surgery to remove tissue from his spinal chord. Several days ago he returned to have the curvature of his spine corrected.

Li Ming, director of the hospital's orthopedics department, said the boy has lost some sensitivity to temperature and if the operation had not been performed he may have suffered paralysis and eventual death.

After the surgery, Wang was able to stand up straight, about 5 centimeters taller than before, and his mobility had improved.

Wang will leave the city in three months but return every year for a checkup.


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