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Thu 23 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Surgical first for Oman

Al Shatti Hospital in Muscat has become the first hospital in the Middle East to perform a new minimally invasive surgical method.

Al Shatti Hospital in Muscat has become the first hospital in the Middle East to perform a new minimally invasive surgical method — endoscopic transforaminal nucleotomy (ETN).

ETN is considered to be a major advance in the treatment of herniated spinal discs. A leading doctor from Germany, Dr Florian Maria Alfen, who is specialised in medical strengthening therapy, orthopaedics, sports medicine and chirotherapy, performed the pioneering procedure at Al Shatti Hospital earlier this month.

Due to numerous advantages, ETN will be a prevailing surgical method in the future, similar to well-established knee-arthoscopic, the hospital authorities at Al Shatti said.

“We have always been in the forefront in providing the best medical facilities. Towards this end, we have been inviting some of the finest doctors of the world to offer the best of medical services to citizens and residents of Oman and the Middle East,” said a spokesman for the hospital.

Dr Alfen, who is a regular visitor to Al Shatti, said” “The ETN is recommended to people who suffer from herniated spinal discs and is aimed at removing the displaced disc tissues in order to relieve the pressure on the narrowed, aching nerve roots. A speciality of this surgical method is that the surgical area is accessed via an intervertebral aperture, the so-called transforminal access.”

So far, the majority of these disc surgeries have been undertaken by means of open-op microsurgical methods. Using the ETN, these discs can be operated very accurately through the intervetebral aperture while leaving healthy tissues unaffected.

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