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Meet another patient

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Success! Vicheka from Cambodia raised $1,500 to fund life-changing spinal surgery.

Vicheka
100%
  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
$1,500
raised
$0
to go
Fully funded
Vicheka's treatment was fully funded on January 27, 2022.

Photo of Vicheka post-operation

March 14, 2022

Vicheka underwent life-changing spinal surgery.

After Vicheka’s surgery, she had a short bed rest with pain medication. The day after her surgery, she started working with the physical therapy team to stand and walk short distances with assistance. Her love for reading will help keep her busy as she recovers. Vicheka will now be able to grow without the spinal deformation inhibiting her growth or her breathing, although she will likely need further surgery to expand the spinal rods as she grows taller.

She can’t wait to return to life as an active young girl and hopes to attain her dream of becoming a teacher one day.

Vicheka’s mother said: “We are hopeful Vicheka’s spine will be fixed, and she will look like other children. No one will make fun of her back when she returns to school, and she can have a normal life. I am grateful to the CSC staff and the people who paid for her operation; we would not have been able to afford this care.”

After Vicheka's surgery, she had a short bed rest with pain medication. The day after her surgery, she started working with the physical the...

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January 19, 2022

Vicheka is the eldest of two children in her family and loves her younger sister who is three years old. Their family lives in Preah Vihear near the Thai border of Cambodia. Her father is a soldier and her mother is a potato farmer. At school, she is fond of math and Khmer literature and would like to be a teacher when she is older. She likes reading books, painting, playing with her little sister, and taking walks with her parents.

When Vicheka was five, she was diagnosed with scoliosis of the spine—a sideways curvature of the spine that most often is diagnosed in adolescents. She has uneven shoulders, a bump in her lower back, difficulty standing up straight, and shortness of breath. It has become difficult for her to breathe, she tires easily, and she is having difficulty walking. This can be very difficult for young girls, they are often hidden at home because other children make fun of the way they look.

A neighbor told her parents about our medical partner Children’s Surgical Centre, so they traveled over 10 hours for a diagnosis and surgery. Surgeons plan to put in expanding rods along her spine. The expanding rods will allow her to grow and keep her spine from curving further, which could cause her more health problems if left untreated. Their family needs $1,500 for the surgery, which will cover medications, implants, and post-operative care.

Vicheka said, “I hope the doctors can fix my spine so I can play with my friends and my back will be straight. I want to continue in school but it is hard for me to keep up, and I miss school.”

Vicheka is the eldest of two children in her family and loves her younger sister who is three years old. Their family lives in Preah Vihear ...

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Vicheka's Timeline

  • January 18, 2022
    TREATMENT OCCURRED

    Vicheka received treatment at Kien Khleang National Rehabilitation Centre in Cambodia. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • January 19, 2022
    PROFILE SUBMITTED

    Vicheka was submitted by Ellen Interlandi, Volunteer at Children's Surgical Centre.

  • January 19, 2022
    PROFILE PUBLISHED

    Vicheka's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • January 27, 2022
    FULLY FUNDED

    Vicheka's treatment was fully funded.

  • March 14, 2022
    TREATMENT UPDATE

    Vicheka's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 25 donors

Funded by 25 donors

Treatment
Spinal Surgery
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,589 for Vicheka's treatment
Subsidies fund $89 and Watsi raises the remaining $1,500
Hospital Fees
$160
Medical Staff
$810
Medication
$0
Supplies
$611
Labs
$3
Radiology
$5
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

Patients experiencing severe back pain may also experience fever and chills, unexplained weight loss, sudden bowel and/or bladder incontinence, and severe, continuous abdominal pain. Back pain may be caused by vertebrae, the small bones of the spine. The back conditions for which surgery is recommended include degenerative disk disease, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, fracture, infection, and tumor.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Patients with severe back pain experience difficulty walking, sleeping, sitting, riding a motorcycle, working, going to school, and carrying out everyday tasks. If the pain affects a patient's ability to work or go to school, the patient will be unable to earn money to support his or her family or continue his or her education. Patients may experience discomfort and difficulty breathing.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Cambodian culture emphasizes the importance of working hard and earning money to support the family. When a patient is unable to work, he or she may feel helpless or may experience financial difficulty.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

There are several types of spinal surgeries performed to treat back pain: Spinal fusion: This is the most common surgery for back pain and is used to keep the spine stable after injury, infection, or a tumor. The surgeon joins the spinal bones (vertebrae) together. In a spinal fusion for scoliosis, the surgeon attaches rods, hooks, wires, or screws to the curved part of the backbone to straighten and stabilize the spine. Laminectomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes parts of the bone, bone spurs, or ligaments in the back. This relieves pressure on spinal nerves and can ease pain or weakness. Foraminotomy: The surgeon cuts bone at the sides of the vertebrae to widen the space through which nerves exit the spine, relieving pressure on the nerves and easing pain. Diskectomy: A disk, the cushion that separates the vertebrae, can slip out of place, pressing on a spinal nerve and causing back pain. In a diskectomy, the surgeon removes all or part of the disk to relieve pain. Disk replacement: A surgeon removes the damaged spinal disk and inserts an artificial one between the vertebrae. Interlaminar implant: The surgeon implants a U-shaped device between two vertebrae in the lower back. This device helps keep the space between them open and eases pressure on the spinal nerves. Bone grafting will also be performed to support the spine and stimulate bone healing.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

The patient will be able to work or go to school without pain.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

As with any operation, there are potential risks associated with spinal surgery. These include: Infection: Antibiotics are regularly given to the patient before, during, and after surgery to lessen the risk of infection. Bleeding: A certain amount of bleeding is expected, but this is not typically significant. Pain at bone graft site: A small percentage of patients will experience persistent pain at the bone graft site. Recurring symptoms: Some patients may experience a recurrence of their original symptoms. Nerve damage: It is possible that the nerves or blood vessels may be injured during these operations. These complications are very rare. Blood clots: Another uncommon complication is the formation of blood clots in the legs.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

Spinal surgery is not widely offered in Cambodia, especially for low-income patients who cannot afford treatment. Children's Surgical Centre (CSC) provides this procedure free of charge. Patients travel to CSC by bus, taxi, or motorbike from all over Cambodia.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Patients that do not seek a surgical procedure may try exercises and medication. However, these forms of treatment may not be effective.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.