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Another surgery for acid attack victim

New Delhi, Nov 19, 2012, DHNS:

Jharkhand girl’s eardrums, facial skin to be reconstructed

Wednesday will be an important day for acid attack victim from Jharkhand, Sonali Mukherjee. She will undergo a surgery for reconstruction of her ear drums and facial skin. She has already been through 20 odd surgeries to rebuild her skin on many parts of the body, including her eyelids.

“We will do tympanoplasty and tissue expander surgeries on her. Through tympanoplasty, her ear drums will be reconstructed. Tissue expander will be carried out on her neck. In this procedure, a silicon balloon will be put inside her neck and blown with saline water. The skin on her neck will grow and it will be used to treat her facial scars,” said Dr A S Bath, plastic surgeon who is treating Sonali in BL Kapur Super Specialty Hospital.

Tympanoplasty is a surgery in which fascia tissues of temporal muscle are used to reconstruct ear drums.

Sonali was left with a low hearing capacity after the attack. Even after reconstruction, she will not attain full capacity to hear.

Her previous surgery, that took place in August, was successful. Skin was grafted on her eyelids making it possible for her to close the eyes.

“She had very little eyesight left, whereby she could see blurry images. As she could not shut her eyes, even that was going. Now, after the surgery, she is now able to move her eyelids,” said Dr Bath.

Dr Sanjeev Bagai of BL Kapur Hospital said Sonali has to undergo five to six surgeries more.

“By the time she came to us, more than 20 surgeries had already been performed. We have to do a few more on her,” he said.

Dr Bath said all the equipment and material needed for the surgery have to be imported and are very expensive.

“Government hospitals carry out these procedures. But they cannot do it for each and every patient due to high costs involved. India has a very high number of burn patients,” he said.

In 2003 when Sonali was 17, three men from the neighbourhood, including a married one, poured acid on her while she was sleeping on her home’s terrace with her family.
They had been sexually harassing her for a long time. When she threatened them saying she would complain it to police and complained to their families, these men poured acid on her, rendering her almost blind, without right ear and a burnt face and torso.


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