Spina bifida patients are among the most vulnerable in the country, with the condition making up nearly two-thirds of the deaths and the third-highest proportion of all cancers among those aged under 65.
The Spina Clinic in Waterford, which is the world’s first SpinaBifida Clinic in Ireland, has a total of 5,000 patients.
The clinic, which opened its doors in late 2015, has been operating since January.
SpinaBefid is a disease where a tumour is left behind in the spine, which has been linked to the development of a number of other conditions.
It is rare in patients with spinal problems and is treated by surgery, but has been shown to increase the risk of developing a range of complications.
Spinal surgery is the most common way of treating the condition, which affects 1 in every 2,500 people in the United States and about 1 in 8 people in Ireland.
The Irish government is currently conducting a study into the use of a new surgery called spina bimbolet for patients with spinaBIFID.
The aim is to find out if this procedure is safe and effective, and if it is even better than traditional spinal surgery.
Dr Catherine O’Hara, chief medical officer of Spina, said the procedure is already a popular option for patients, who are often in a difficult financial position and unable to afford an expensive procedure.
Dr O’Shea said Spina patients were often the ones who would be the first to be referred to Spina.
“It’s been very encouraging for our patients and our staff that people have come forward and expressed an interest in the procedure,” she said.
“They’ve said they don’t know if it’s safe or if it will be worth it, but if it works for them, then it will work for everyone else as well.”
Dr O-Shea has previously said she was hopeful the procedure would be safe.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty, but we are hopeful that it will,” she told The Irish Sun in 2014.
“If you look at a number in Ireland where we have found that a significant proportion of patients have a positive outcome, the majority of them have a spinal cord injury.
It’s a very high rate.”
Dr Spina said it was a unique procedure that had the potential to be effective.
“I think that we can’t get there if we don’t have the right people and the right support,” she added.
“People are looking for the right answer and we’ve got a very good team of specialists and a team of doctors and we have a very positive attitude towards Spina.”
Spina patients are also in demand for spinal surgery in other countries, with a number operating in the UK and the United Arab Emirates.
The Spina Institute, which works in partnership with the Spina Foundation and the University of St Andrews, is currently developing a spinal reconstruction surgery programme.