BENGALURU: Doctors at Bengaluru's Aster CMI Hospital performed a six-and-a-half hour-long surgery on an eight-year-old boy suffering from a rare condition called 'nasal encephalocele'.
An 'encephalocele' is a rare congenital disorder where the bones of a baby’s skull do not close completely in the mother’s uterus.
The condition made the brain grow down through a crack in the skull into his nose.
This later creates an opening through which brain tissue and cerebrospinal fluid protrude out of the head in a sac-like structure and poses a huge risk of brain infections to the patients.
The child also has a cleft lip, palate, and swelling inside the mouth.
Dr. Ravi Gopal Varma, Lead Consultant Neurosurgeon and Chief of Neuro Sciences, Aster, Bangalore said his case was a complex one and had to be operated on in two stages.
"The child’s brain had descended down as a pouch and the bone between his brain and the eye was deficient. Even though there was no impact on his brain activity and he was a very bright boy, there were chances that this encephalocele could rupture and the cerebrospinal fluid flows out. This, in turn, could have caused an infection - a life-threatening scenario for the child," Dr. Varma said.
The doctors opened his skull and then retracted his brain back. They isolated the normal brain from the sac of non-functioning brain matter that hung from his face. They then placed an artificial bone between the two eyes and another bone on that to ensure that the brain does not fall again into the nasal cavity. In the next stage, they repaired his cleft lip and put him under speech therapy. In 3 months' time, he will undergo repair of the cleft palate.
Dr. Prateek P Nayak, Consultant, ENT Surgery, Aster CMI Hospital said the cleft lip and cleft palate made the surgery very unique and challenging because, while reconstructing, they had to save a lot of blood supply to the nose.
"The child was earlier breathing through his mouth because the swelling had prevented him from breathing properly through his nose but post-surgery his speech, swallowing, and breathing has improved," Dr. Nayak shared.
Hanging brain matter had impacted the life of the boy for several years. The condition had obstructed the child’s vision and had completely deformed his nose and face.
Even though his parents had visited several hospitals across the city in the past, the doctors they consulted were not able to ensure his survival because of the potential complications involved in the operative procedure.