Indian surgeons save African baby with rare defect

However, she is today a hale and hearty infant, thanks to two life-saving surgeries by a team of Indian doctors.  Neurosurgeons at Fortis Hospital in Noida, a suburb of Delhi in Uttar Pradesh, were surprised that the child survived for this long, as she was born with encephaloceles, a rare defect which occurs at a rate of one per 5,000 live births worldwide.

Only 20 percent of the babies with this defect are born alive and only half of them survive, said Sanjay Gupta, one of the doctors who operated upon Goreth.

"Goreth had a huge bulk of brain tissues and membranes protruding out of the head, which continued to grow and weighed 2.5 kg," Gupta told IANS Tuesday.

"It took two surgeries. In the first six-hour operation, we placed the important tissues and portions of the brain back into the fluid and excised the protrusion. Four days later, we again conducted an operation to correct the defect in skull which led to protrusion and an artificial bone with 4X5 cm dimensions was placed," he said.

The entire procedure cost around Rs.5 lakh, 20 times less than the cost of a similar operation in the US or west European countries. The baby's mother Mbonimpa Seraphnine arrived in India earlier this month after a non-governmental organisation in Burundi arranged funds for her.

The first operation was conducted April 13, and the relieved mother flew back to her home Monday. Gupta also said that the exact cause of encephaloceles is not known, but probable factors responsible for the condition include exposure to toxins, lack of folic acid in the pregnant mother, maternal malnutrition and infections very early in foetal life.

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