The skeletal frame of human beings is a truly remarkable testament to evolution. From our earliest known ancestor, Nakalipithecus nakayamai that dwelt on Earth around 10 million years ago, through Homo Erectus existing from around 4 million years ago, to where we are today as Homo Sapiens.
At birth, the body is made up of around 300 bones. Some of these bones fuse together during early development, such as the lower regions of the spine where the sacrum and coccyx are made up of individual vertebra that have fused to become 2 fixed sections of the spine. By the age of 14 to 18 years, bone fusion of the skeletal frame is complete leaving the adult with a total of 206 bones.
Each bone in the body is made up calcium reinforced connective tissues along with their unique bone cells. Most of the bones in the body also contain red and yellow bone marrow. The red marrow holds the stem cells which becomes red or white blood cells or platelets. The yellow bone marrow is mostly made up of fat.
The evolution of the human skeleton has resulted in an intricate mechanical structure that is remarkably strong. Healthy bone has a compressive strength 50 times greater than that of mild steel and on a par with stainless steel. And, unlike steel, bone has the ability to heal itself should it become damaged or broken.
Through 10 million years of evolution our skeletons have become more and more efficient, and yet, they are still vulnerable in many ways. Birth defects, sickness, disease, along with wear and tear, take their toll on the skeletal frame and its joints. With the advances in medical science we are living a more active life for longer and longer, thus our bone and joints work hard for longer. The joints of the bones are vulnerable to wearing out, the average person’s fingers will undertake around 25 million functions in their lifetime, that is a lot of frictional wear.
Bones and Joint Diagnostics
Caring for the bones and joints requires expert medical care by professionals specializing in this complex area of medical science. Fortunately, Bangkok has specialist bone, joint and spinal centers dedicated to the, almost enumerate, health issues associated with the skeletal frame. The capital of Thailand is now recognized globally as a center of excellence in diagnostics and treatment for bone, joint and spinal health issues.
Successful treatment of any health problem begins with diagnostics, and, at Bangkok’s specialist centers this is done with state of the art equipment and procedures, coupled with the advanced knowledge of experienced professionals. From simple fractures to deformities or disease, precise diagnosis is essential.
Diagnostics can take many forms. There may be nothing more necessary that a physical examination to ascertain the issue plaguing a patient. Laboratory tests may be undertaken on body fluids, such as the blood and urine. X-rays are a very useful tool and are common place for physical injuries, infections or arthritis.
Other diagnostic procedures include computed tomography scan, often referred to as a CT or CAT scan. Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. Bone densitometry, radionuclide bone scanning and biopsies are advanced procedures that have become invaluable in the task of accurately diagnosing bone and joint health problems.
Treating Bone and Joint Health Problems
Pushing the boundaries to maximize cures and to alleviate symptomatic suffering is the goal in improving a patient’s quality of life. This can only be achieved by utilizing the most advanced technology and technical procedures. Bangkok’s specialist bone and joint centers have invested heavily in this area to achieve results that are now the envy of the world.
Advances in medical technology has allowed minimally invasive surgical (MIS) procedures to become common place for many bone and joint health issues. Osteoporosis is one condition that now benefits from MIS. Osteoporosis commonly, but not exclusively, affects the elderly women of menopausal age and can often be treated with medication, but, in some cases, will benefit from MIS.
An MIS procedure may take the form of Vertebroplasty. This is an injection of a bone-like cement substance specifically formulated to stabilize vertebra in the spine. With the procedure taking only between 1 and 2 hours, and with just 1 small incision, the recovery time is short and the patient can return home after just 1 nights stay in hospital.
MIS also takes the form of Disc Nucleoplasty. This procedure utilizes radio waves to reduce the pressure caused by herniated discs. This procedure is able to reduce the pressure without damaging other, delicate tissues. Disc Nucleoplasty would normally take no longer than half an hour, results in minimal blood loss and the patient can leave hospital immediately following the procedure and return to their normal life in just 2 days.
Micro endoscopic surgery, through the advances in technology, is now driving excellent results in the treatment of bone and joint health issues, particularly with the spine. With micro surgical tooling and high magnification cameras, surgeons can precisely operate on delicate areas, such as severely herniated discs of the lumbar region.
With such facilitated precision, skilled surgeons can undertake procedures that would once not be attempted due to the risk of causing damage to the delicate spinal cord. And now with the computer guided “Navigator System”, which provides real time analytical data, a surgeon can make ever more accurate decisions throughout the surgical process.
With a plethora of bone, joint and spinal health issues, that can affect anyone, knowing that there are dedicated medical centers is a comforting thought. Skilled professionals, the most advance technology and ground breaking procedures have resulted in Bangkok leading the world in bone, joint and spinal health problems.
Sufferers of bone, joint and spinal health issues are coming to Bangkok in ever increasing numbers seeking the extemporary care the city can provide. However, it is essential that those seeking treatment from any facility should ensure the accreditation of the medical center they intend to trust with their health. Accreditation such as the American Clinical Care Program Certification (CCPC) ensures an establishment’s level of care is of the very best standard.
One such dedicated bone, joint and spine center has its team headed up by Professor Emeritus Charoen Chotigavanich, M.D. As the former president of the Asia Pacific Orthopedics Association he now holds the position of Senior Director of the Orthopedic Surgical Department, at Samitivej Hospital.