Surgeons at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have removed an eight kg balloon-like protrusion filled with fluid from the head of a four-month-old baby because of which it weighed 11 kgs.
A resident of Siwan district in Bihar, Shwetank suffered from a rare congenital condition called encephalocele, where the skull is malformed and the contents of the brain form outside the head.
“In Shwetank's case, the protrusion was in the shape of a balloon and was bigger than the size of his head. This is a rare condition— four in 1,000 live births,” said Dr Vivek Tandon, a neurosurgeon at the hospital who was part of the team that performed the complex surgery.
Post-surgery, the baby boy weighs three kilos. The balloon contained six litres of fluid in it, which filled four big bottles. “It is surprising that the swelling did not rupture, which could have been fatal," the doctor added.
Born on November 5 last year, his parents noticed a small swelling of the size of a lemon at the back of his head. As he grew, the swelling increased in size.
“He could not sleep straight; we had to ensure he slept on his sides. Feeding him was also a task. But seeing the size of the protrusion, I was scared of a surgery. When doctors told us that the surgery had only 10 per cent risk, I agreed,” said Sushma Pandey, his mother. The surgery was challenging for the doctors because of the size of the protrusion.
“Fluid and blood loss management from the sack during the surgery was a major challenge. Administering anaesthesia due to the position of the protrusion was also a challenge,” said Dr Tandon.
The baby will be able to lead a normal life, During the initial few years, his parents need to be careful that he does not fall on the back of his head.
“There is no bone at the back, we have been asked to come a few years later to place an artificial bone there,” said Sushma Pandey.