Tuesday, February 14, 2017
A group of doctors has high hopes that an artificial disc, owned exclusively by a Jamaican-born doctor, can be used as a tool to drive medical tourism in Jamaica.
The technology was used for the first time in a four-level disc replacement procedure at the Andrews Memorial Hospital in St Andrew on February 1. The surgical procedure was performed by orthopaedic spinal surgeon Dr Kingsley Chin, who was born in Buff Bay, Portland.
Chin is CEO of KIC Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on the health technology sector and the owner of AxioMed, a health tech company that has developed the technology known as the Freedom Cervical disc. AxioMed was founded to advance the standard of care for patients with degenerative spine conditions and has now successfully developed the artificial disc that most closely mimics the normal disc using viscoelastic polymer technology.
In disc replacement, worn or damaged disc material between the small bones in the spine (vertebrae) is removed and replaced with a synthetic or ‘artificial’ disc. The goal of the procedure is to relieve back pain while maintaining more normal motion than is allowed with some other procedures, such as spinal fusion. The Freedom Cervical disc is said to most closely mimic the natural properties of a healthy human disc and has been proven to withstand the forces and wear of decades of use.
On February 1, Dr Chin operated on a female patient with a prolapsed disc who would’ve been in need of several surgical procedures with sequential disc replacement or a fusion of the discs, which would’ve limited her neck motion.
For the procedure, he worked with his team of University of the West Indies (UWI) and Oxford-trained Rhodes Scholar Dr David Walcott, UWI & Yale-trained neurosurgeon Dr J Geoffrey Liburd, and anesthesiologist Dr Patrick Toppin.