Jordanian teen receives ‘spine made of rope’, the first-of-its kind in MENA region

Jordanian teen receives ‘spine made of rope’, the first-of-its kind in MENA region
Dr. Firas M. Husban performing the VBT surgery at Burjeeel Hospital, Dubai. (Burjeel Hospital)
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Updated 06 July 2022

Jordanian teen receives ‘spine made of rope’, the first-of-its kind in MENA region

Jordanian teen receives ‘spine made of rope’, the first-of-its kind in MENA region
  • Salma Naser Nawayseh is already making a remarkable recovery following her operation

LONDON: A Jordanian teen received a new spine made of rope in a pioneering operation in Dubai, making her the first recipient of the surgery in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Salma Naser Nawayseh, 13, underwent vertebral body tethering (VBT) surgery last week, in which a piece of rope was run down the entire length of her spine.

Screws are then inserted into each section of the spine to assist in producing the proper tension on the rope and correcting the curve.

VBT is currently practiced in only a few countries, including the US, France, and Germany, but this is the first time the surgery has been carried out in the MENA region.

Salma is already making a remarkable recovery following her operation at Dubai’s Burjeel Hospital. She is not only back to walking, but she also plans to return to tennis soon.

In April 2022, Salma’s parents first noticed the curve in her spine, and she was later diagnosed with scoliosis — a spine condition characterized by an abnormal lateral curve.

Although it can appear in infancy or early childhood, the primary age of onset for scoliosis is between the ages of 10-15 years.

While most cases are mild and do not require invasive treatment, untreated moderate to severe scoliosis can cause pain, increased deformity, and potential heart and lung problems.

Salma presented to Dr. Firas Husban, a consultant orthopedic surgeon at Burjeel Hospital, with a thoracolumbar curve of 65 degrees.Her condition caused back deformity with trunk shortening, a lower back hump, an unleveled pelvis, and back pain.

“Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common type and is usually diagnosed during puberty” Dr. Husban said.

“The three treatment options for such patients are observation, bracing, or surgery. While bracing is an option in patients with mild forms of scoliosis, in Salma’s case, she required surgery to correct the deformity.” he added.

In 2019, the USFDA approved VBT; a minimally invasive technique that allows for continued growth without fusion while preserving motion and flexibility.

The new treatment allows for fusionless spine correction, allowing the patient to regain full range of motion and grow further. Other benefits include less visible incisions, less trauma, fewer complications, and faster healing.Despite being a newer treatment, the cost of VBT is comparable to other scoliosis treatments.

Not every patient with scoliosis is a candidate for VBT. It would ideally be performed on children over the age of nine and who are still growing.

Furthermore, the procedure is most effective in patients with a 45 to 65 degree curve.

Doctors said Salma was the “perfect candidate” for the procedure because she had not yet reached full skeletal maturity.

Dr. Husban said: “As opposed to spinal surgeries that involve cutting into the back and manipulating the spinal cord and nerve roots, in this surgery, we make discreet incisions in the abdomen through the endoscope.

“Because VBT is minimally invasive, there is little trauma to the delicate tissues of your back. As a result, there is less blood loss, less postoperative pain and speedier recovery time compared to the spinal fusion surgery.” Dr. Husban said Salma’s spinal curve will continue to improve, and the tether will guide the growth of the spine as the body grows.

“The patient is recovering well after the surgery. After two weeks, Salma can go back to school. Four weeks later she can return to full activity with no restrictions and can start playing sports,” he also said.

Salma’s parents are thrilled at the outcome.

“She started walking the second day after surgery. We are happy that our daughter was eligible for this surgery. We look forward to our daughter holding the racket again and resuming tennis.” they said in a statement released by the hospital.


Egypt church fire not deliberate: Probe

Egypt church fire not deliberate: Probe
Updated 18 August 2022

Egypt church fire not deliberate: Probe

Egypt church fire not deliberate: Probe
  • The public prosecution questioned 33 witnesses, including the 16 people injured

CAIRO: The fire that broke out in the Abu Sefein Church in Egypt on Sunday was not deliberate, according to an investigation by the public prosecution.
The cause of the fire, which killed 41 people, was a defect with an electric generator in the church after it was turned on due to a power outage.
The public prosecution questioned 33 witnesses, including the 16 people injured, who said they heard the sound of electric charges emanating from inside the church, and the fire broke out after that. Prosecutor General Hamada El-Sawy said the victims had died of smoke inhalation.


Coptic pope offers condolences over church fire

Coptic pope offers condolences over church fire
Updated 18 August 2022

Coptic pope offers condolences over church fire

Coptic pope offers condolences over church fire
  • Blaze in Egyptian city of Giza killed 41 people, injured 16
  • ‘We thank God for all those who contributed to containing this crisis’

CAIRO: The Egyptian people showed their genuine nature with regard to Sunday’s fire in Abu Sefein Church that killed 41 people and injured 16 in the city of Giza, said the pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Pope Tawadros II thanked everyone who contributed to containing the blaze, and offered condolences to the family of a priest who died.

“He was a beloved priest until his last breath, and we console the people of the church, both adults and children, knowing that they are with Christ, and that is very much better,” the pope said.

“We thank God for all those who contributed to containing this crisis, including the concerned agencies, officials, the people and neighbors.”

He said he is scheduled to meet in the next few days with the victims’ families, adding that Christian and Muslim communities in various countries have offered their condolences. The Interior Ministry said an electrical fault had caused the fire.


Russian ship carrying ‘plundered’ Ukraine grain reaches Syria: embassy

Russian ship carrying ‘plundered’ Ukraine grain reaches Syria: embassy
Updated 18 August 2022

Russian ship carrying ‘plundered’ Ukraine grain reaches Syria: embassy

Russian ship carrying ‘plundered’ Ukraine grain reaches Syria: embassy
  • "According to our information, SV KONSTANTIN has docked in Syria," the embassy said
  • It said the ship was carrying "grains that were plundered and illegally transported by the Russian occupation authorities"

BEIRUT: A Russian cargo ship allegedly carrying stolen Ukrainian grain has reached Syria, Kyiv’s embassy in Beirut said Thursday, the latest in a series of contested shipments arriving in the war-torn country.
“According to our information, SV KONSTANTIN has docked in Syria,” the embassy said in a statement to AFP.
It said the ship was carrying “grains that were plundered and illegally transported by the Russian occupation authorities,” adding that the vessel was initially destined for the Lebanese port of Tripoli.
Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russian forces of ransacking its grain warehouses since they invaded the country in late February.
The embassy’s statement came as another cargo ship carrying the first shipment of grain allowed to leave Ukraine under a UN-backed deal reportedly unloaded its cargo at the Syrian port of Tartus, which is managed by a Russian firm.
The Sierra Leone-flagged vessel Razoni was expected to arrive in Lebanon, but the shipment’s five-month delay prompted the Lebanese buyer to cancel the deal once the ship was already at sea, Ukrainian officials had said.
According to Samir Madani, co-founder of oil shipping monitoring website TankerTrackers.com, the vessel docked in Tartus earlier this week.
Satellite imagery appeared to show that the ship — which was carrying 26,000 tons of corn — was unloading its cargo, Madani tweeted on Thursday.
Earlier this month, a Syrian-flagged ship was briefly seized by Lebanese authorities following similar claims by the Ukrainian embassy that it was laden with stolen cargo.
Lebanon later released the Laodicea vessel after investigations failed to prove it carried stolen goods, drawing criticism from Kyiv’s embassy.
The Laodicea started unloading its cargo at Tartus on August 8, according to Syrian state media.
Syria is a staunch ally of Russia, which intervened in the country’s civil war in 2015 to support President Bashar Assad’s government.
Moscow has lent Damascus very limited amounts of financial aid, but it has supplied Syria with wheat as a form of assistance.
The Syrian government relies on Moscow for the bulk of its wheat imports.


Egyptian, Canadian ministers discuss cooperation

Egyptian, Canadian ministers discuss cooperation
Updated 18 August 2022

Egyptian, Canadian ministers discuss cooperation

Egyptian, Canadian ministers discuss cooperation
  • Sajjan said: “I was impressed by the Egyptian vision of empowering women.”

CAIRO: Nevin Al-Kabbaj, Egypt’s minister of social solidarity, met with Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s minister of international development, to discuss cooperation in various fields.
Al-Kabbaj reviewed her ministry’s programs and activities, including those focusing on the rights of women and the disabled.
Sajjan said: “I was impressed by the Egyptian vision of empowering women.”
Al-Kabbaj expressed her appreciation for the efforts of the Canadian Embassy and the Canadian Development Agency to support development in Egypt and her ministry’s economic-empowerment projects.


Egypt sends aid to flood-hit Sudan

Egypt sends aid to flood-hit Sudan
Updated 18 August 2022

Egypt sends aid to flood-hit Sudan

Egypt sends aid to flood-hit Sudan
  • Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged by torrential rains and floods, according to the Sudanese Civil Defense

CAIRO: Egypt has sent five military transport planes loaded with tons of relief aid to Sudan, where floods have killed 77 people and injured more than 30.

A spokesman for Egypt’s military said the aid comes “in the framework of Egypt’s support and solidarity with the brotherly Sudanese people.”

The aid includes tents, blankets, foodstuffs, medicines and medical supplies provided by the defense and health ministries.

Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged by torrential rains and floods, according to the Sudanese Civil Defense.

Heavy rains usually fall in Sudan between May and September, a period when the country experiences flash floods that damage housing, infrastructure and crops.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that 38,000 people across Sudan have been affected by rains and floods since the start of this season.