Back on His Feet: 95-Year-Old Defies Age with Successful Spinal Fusion

95 Year Old spinal fusion

HARTFORD, Conn. – Dr. Vijay Yanamadala, a highly regarded neurosurgeon from Hartford HealthCare, recently performed an intricate spinal fusion on a 95-year-old patient, delivering a remarkable outcome that has allowed the patient to regain his independence.

The patient, who had unknowingly been living with ankylosing spondylitis, had suffered a severe fall at home, leading to a three-column fracture of the thoracic spine. Upon arrival at the emergency room, he was still neurologically intact, but immediate action was required to prevent further complications.

Dr. Yanamadala explained, “We had to do a multilevel fusion to stabilize his condition in the setting of ankylosing spondylitis.” Given the patient’s advanced age, extensive preoperative optimization and clearance were performed by the medical teams before proceeding with surgery.

The decision to go ahead with the surgery was a result of an extensive conversation between Dr. Yanamadala, the patient, and his family. The patient, who had led an active and independent life, faced a future of being bed-bound due to the unstable fracture. “Without surgery, he would basically be bed-bound… and if he attempted to walk without stabilization, he could become paralyzed due to movement of the fracture and injury to the spinal cord,” Dr. Yanamadala said.

Dr. Yanamadala underscored the patient’s desire to regain his previous level of mobility and independence. The medical team was driven by this motivation to restore him to his functional state. The crux of the challenge lay in the surgery’s ability to sufficiently stabilize the patient’s condition to enable him to walk again.

Following the surgery, the patient has astoundingly bounced back. He is now back in his home, living independently and enjoying his regained mobility. According to Dr. Yanamadala, the patient has shown an exceptional recovery, particularly considering his age, and is highly pleased with his current state of health.