Panvel resident Pragati Gharat, 22, used to have to change the soiled clothes of her three-year-old son Atharva at least eight times a day.
Atharva was born without defined genitals and had no control over his bowel movements.
On Wednesday, doctors at the paediatric ward of the Sion Hospital surgically reconstructed Atharva’s penis. Gharat is hopeful that the surgery will help her son overcome the birth defect.
“Atharva is suffering from a rare congenital disorder called cloacal exstrophy of bladder which involves multiple systems of the body such as urinary system, external genitalia and gastrointestinal system.
The disorder is reported in one among a lakh persons,” said Dr Paras Kothari, head of the department of paediatric surgery, Sion hospital.
The lower part of Atharva’s abdominal wall and front part of the bladder were missing, leading to an open bladder, said Dr Ritesh Ranjan, senior registrar, department of paediatric surgery. Besides, Atharva’s navel was not formed. His pelvic bones were not joined and affected his walking.
He also had stones in both his kidneys.
“The muscles responsible for controlling the bladder were also not developed leading to continuous flow of urine,” said Dr Ranjan.
After consulting three private doctors, the family admitted Atharva to Sion hospital last year.
“Private doctors asked for Rs 4 lakh for the surgery. We could not afford that,” said Gharat whose husband works in a warehouse.
Atharva has undergone four major surgeries at Sion hospital in the past year.
A hole was made in his abdomen to divert stool coming out through the open bladder. Then in two separate operations, doctors removed his kidney stones.
Last week, in a major operation, doctors closed the open bladder and abdominal wall.
Speaking about the success rate of the surgery, Dr Kothari said, “He (Atharva) might not be able to father a child. Otherwise he can lead a normal life.”