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Success! Sophea from Cambodia raised $1,500 to fund surgery for scoliosis.

  • $1,500 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Sophea's treatment was fully funded on January 22, 2020.

Photo of Sophea post-operation

October 26, 2019

Sophea underwent surgery for scoliosis.

Sophea’s operation went well. Surgery will improve her quality of life by correcting her spine position and allowing Sophea to sit for long periods of time without discomfort. Surgery is also important to ensure Sophea does not further the worsening of the condition. Sophea’s mom feels happy that Sophea won’t have to miss any more school.

Sophea said, “I am so happy that I can walk normally again and no longer have any back pain.”

Sophea's operation went well. Surgery will improve her quality of life by correcting her spine position and allowing Sophea to sit for long ...

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October 8, 2019

At the age of seven, Sophea fell three meters from the roof of her house. Sine then, her back has formed a curve in her spine, and she has experienced pain in her back and difficulty sleeping. Surgery can help correct the position of her spine, and prevent further worsening of the condition. Sophea has three sisters and enjoys reading books, listening to music, and cooking. Her favorite subject in school is math, and she hopes to become a tailor when she grows up.

At the age of seven, Sophea fell three meters from the roof of her house. Sine then, her back has formed a curve in her spine, and she has e...

Read more

Sophea's Timeline

  • October 8, 2019

    Sophea was submitted by Lindsay Bownik, Stakeholder Relations Officer at Children's Surgical Centre, our medical partner in Cambodia.

  • October 09, 2019

    Sophea received treatment at Kien Khleang National Rehabilitation Centre. 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.

  • October 15, 2019

    Sophea's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 26, 2019

    Sophea's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • January 22, 2020

    Sophea's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 29 donors

Funded by 29 donors

Spinal Surgery
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,500 for Sophea's treatment
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • 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.


Last July, Owamani’s mother noticed an imbalance in her son's testicle sizes while he was bathing, she thought it would normalize soon but it didn’t. In March 2020, Owamani was taken to Rugarama Hospital and was diagnosed with a hernia but their family did not have money for the surgery. He was then taken to Kabale referral hospital but his parents were advised to take him back for surgery after the COVID-19 situation has stabilized. Owamani's father and mother are small scale farmers who hire little pieces of land for cultivation because they have no land of their own yet. They rent a single room for their family's shelter. They are a family of three children and are all in school. Owamani is the second born and currently in fourth grade at primary school. Owamani has now come to Watsi's Partner Care Center Rushoroza Hospital for treatment. If not treated through herniorrhaphy, he could have future obstruction and strangulation of tissue thus becoming gangrenous leading to peritonitis. Owamani’s mother says that Owamani complains of severe pain especially as he interacts with his friends, when riding a bicycle, and sometimes there is an uncontrollable flow of urine when he is sleeping. Owamani’s mother shared, “We cannot help him due to our current financial position; he would be the happiest and most active boy if treated. He may comfortably play with his friends especially at school and this would improve his class performance.”

0% funded

$178to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.