Life is now beautiful for him, thanks to cutting-edge surgery

 For 13-year-old Manikandan, it is indeed a lease of life.  The tribal boy had been the object of unwarranted attention since birth due to a rare medical condition called ‘encephlocele’ in which brain matter oozes out of a gap in the skull into a sac-like structure, giving the patient’s head a grotesque appearance.  

Published: 30th June 2017 01:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th June 2017 07:57 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: For 13-year-old Manikandan, it is indeed a lease of life.  The tribal boy had been the object of unwarranted attention since birth due to a rare medical condition called ‘encephlocele’ in which brain matter oozes out of a gap in the skull into a sac-like structure, giving the patient’s head a grotesque appearance.  The  growth weighing one kg was removed through a marathon 11-hour surgery at Amrita Hospital here. It involved reconstructing part of the skull, repositioning of eye sockets and remodelling of nose.


“His skull was opened and normal brain isolated from the sac of non-functioning brain matter hanging from his face. The removal of the deformity left a defect in the skull, a portion of which had to be reconstructed. The patient’s eye sockets were repositioned to remove the deformity in the right eye, and the nose was also remodelled. All these were huge surgical challenges.

Manikandan after the surgery | Express

Now  the boy can lead  a normal life,” said  Subramania Iyer, head of  Plastic  and  Reconstructive Surgery at Amrita Hospital. The fist-sized ball of brain matter used to hang from Manikandan’s nose as a pendulum. It obstructed his vision and deformed his nose and face.  Manikandan, hailing from an indigent family, is the son of plantation workers Selvan and Ramata of Parambikulam.


Besides Iyer, the team which operated on Manikandan included paediatric neurosurgeon and craniomaxillofacial surgeons Suhas Udayanarayanan and Pramod Subhash.  The cost of the surgery was borne by Kerala Government agencies as  a result of efforts by  Palakkad district administration and Department of Tribal Welfare.

It was district tribal welfare officer Suresh who brought the plight of the boy to the attention of  P Pugazhenthi, director, SC/ST Development Department. The matter was brought to the  notice of  SC/ST Welfare Minister  A K Balan following which funds were sanctioned for  the surgery. Palakkad  District Collector P Marykutty was also quite supportive.

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