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KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital Delivers Safer Orthopaedic Care and Surgeries for Paediatric Patients

Singapore’s largest tertiary referral centre for Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Neonatology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) provides radiation-free intraoperative spinal procedures.

Scoliosis, a lateral curvature of the spine, sees the highest incidence among adolescents aged 10 to 16, representing close to 80 percent of newly diagnosed cases at KKH. With increased awareness, there are more cases being presented with early onset of scoliosis in younger children, including those under three years old. Surgical treatment would be recommended for cases with severe scoliosis, or even to arrest the progression of the condition.

As a specialist in complete paediatric scoliosis and spine care, the Musculoskeletal Centre (MSC) at KKH now delivers radiation-free intraoperative spinal procedures using an advanced navigation system. In under two weeks, KKH has successfully performed Asia’s first four surgeries on paediatric scoliosis patients using the 7D Machine-vision Image Guided Surgery (MvIGS) system.

Guidance through machine vision technology and real-time positioning, paediatric spinal surgeons at KKH are able to perform intricate procedures with greater clarity and certainty. Leveraging on this technology has enabled improvements in workflow productivity in the operating theatre, with time required for patient spinal identifier registration reduced from 30 minutes to a few seconds. Accuracy in screw placement is also enhanced under direct vision, reducing the incidence of nerve and spinal cord injuries. Lastly, eliminating the need for an X-ray for surgical navigation will increase the safety of the paediatric patients from being exposed to radiation. This also enables convenience for the surgical team as lead insulation is no longer required during surgery.

Associate Professor Kevin Lim, Chairman, Division of Surgery and Senior Consultant at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, KKH said, “Our Musculoskeletal Centre has been transforming paediatric patient care to become the one-stop provider for orthopaedic treatment, management and orthotic services. The Centre also offers evidence-based care dedicated to paediatric sports and exercise medicine. To foster and enable active lifestyles and improve quality of life for our paediatric patients, the Centre embraces a holistic approach toward muscle and bone development with pre-emptive, prescriptive, pre- and post- operative care management.”

Through its Musculoskeletal Centre (MSC) and Paediatric Orthotic Centre (POC), KKH offers complete treatment and day-to-day management of bone deformities, fractures, scoliosis and neuromuscular diseases in persons up to 18 years of age.

With a dedicated sports and exercise medicine practice, and the use of orthopaedic imaging with low-dose radiation (known as EOS), these enable the MSC to be a true end-to-end, patient-centric musculoskeletal specialist service in Singapore.

For over 20 years, KKH has been providing paediatric orthotic services as part of multidisciplinary treatment for children with conditions like scoliosis, cerebral palsy, flat feet and complex congenital deformities. Locally, the POC provides in-house prosthetists and orthotists, and an onsite orthosis fabrication workshop to fulfil demands for timely, personalised needs of patients with lower limb and spine conditions. [APBN]