Part of the brain outside the skull was carefully dissected and separated. It was then placed back into the skull.
A baby born with part of the brain outside the skull has been saved in the UAE, thanks to a team of skilled doctors.
The anomaly was discovered when the Emirati mother underwent a routine scan at Al Zahra Hospital.
The patient and family were then informed that a multidisciplinary team would be required to perform the operation. Having had three successful deliveries with the hospital in the past, the family opted to stay on.
The ‘occipital encephalocele’ disorder affects one in 5,000 births in the GCC.
A C-section was performed once the mother, who was in her 38th week of pregnancy, went into labour, and the baby was immediately rushed to the neonatal ICU where it was kept under extreme sterile conditions and monitored round the clock.
“This case was unique. It was crucial to have a multidisciplinary team and an obstetrician who has dealt with a similar case in the past. In my 30 years of experience, this is only the second time I have encountered such a case,” said Dr Shama Nawaz, consultant obstetrics and gynecology, who led the team that delivered the baby.
To tend to the baby’s brain outside the skull, a team under Dr Bobby Jose, specialist neurosurgeon and clinical administrator, took over to perform the two-stage surgery. In the first stage, part of the brain outside the skull was carefully dissected and separated on the fourth day of the baby’s birth. The part was then placed back into the skull and an artificial membrane was used to cover the exposed part of the brain.
During the second part of the surgery performed on the eight day, the fluid gathered in the brain was drained out by performing a shunt surgery, where a tube was inserted from the brain into the stomach of the baby. To perform this surgery the baby was administered a high dose of anesthesia, keeping it unconscious for several hours.
Speaking about this breakthrough surgery, Dr Jose said: “It was an extremely complex case considering the age of the child and how 30 per cent of the baby’s brain was outside the skull. The part had to be carefully handled and repositioned inside the skull and recreating the covering of the brain was an extremely delicate and intricate job. The anesthesia for such a small child was very demanding which was well handled by our anesthesia team under Dr Hazem Daaji and Dr Ayman Hassan. The support of the pediatricians and neonatal team was very crucial in ensuring success of the surgery and outcome.”
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