BENGALURU: Eight-year-old Harshal from Maharashtra has a rare genetic skin condition — Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). It affected his entire body — he could not talk, walk or even write. And he stopped going to school. But now he has a reason to smile. A multidisciplinary approach by doctors at a private hospital has ensured that he can perform normal activities.
EB is characterised by extremely fragile skin and recurrent blister formation, resulting from minor mechanical friction or trauma. Harshal’s parents had taken him to many hospitals in Maharashtra. But many doctors backed out looking at the severity of the condition. The family then headed to Bengaluru for treatment.
“When Harshal was brought to us we were surprised to see his condition. He looked like a four-year-old child and not an eight-year-old. He had scarring throughout his hands and legs and as a result, he had become immobile. His fingers, feet and knees had become like a cocoon and there was even scarring in the food pipe due to which he was unable to eat and he looked like a malnutrition patient, said Dr Ravi N Hiremagalore, Consultant- Pediatric Dermatologist, Manipal Hospital, Old Airport Road.
To get Harshal walking, plastic surgery had to be carried out to fix his knee. “Harshal had knee contracture. Usually, after releasing the contracture, the skin is taken from the thighs, legs or back but in his case, we had to take the skin from the scalp. A feeding tube was put in his stomach to supply nutrition and the surgery lasted for four hours,” said Dr Srikanth V, Consultant- Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery.
The anaesthetist faced difficulty in finding a vein. Through ultrasound, veins were visible only on his scalp and neck. “After the surgery, a nerve block was given so that he did not feel any pain in the anaesthesia areas,” said Dr Anupama Tripathi Srikanth, Consultant Anesthesiologist, pain and palliative specialist.
Harshal is now getting healthier. After a few months, another surgery will be performed to fix the cocooned fingers after which Harshal can get back to even writing.