Baby with giant encephalocele successfully undergoes operation

New Delhi: In a first-of-its kind surgery, doctors at AIIMS today removed an eight kg `balloon-like` protrusion, a rare disorder known as encephalocele, from the head of a four-month-old baby.

Shwetank, who weighed 11 kg at the time of his operation, was brought to All India Institute of Medical Sciences from Bihar`s Siwan district for a surgery to remove it.

Post surgery, the baby now weighs three kg after doctors removed the protrusion that contained nearly six litres of fluid, Dr A K Mahapatra, head of the department neurosurgery, AIIMS, who first saw the baby on January 18, said.

"Such a case is scientifically termed as a case of Encephalocele and it is a first-of-its kind case as it was a `Giant Encephalocele` -- a congenital malformation of the skull where the contents of the brain can protrude out in the form of a balloon that was larger that the size of baby Shwetank`s head," he said.

Recalling his first sight of the baby, Dr Mahapatra said, "He was brought in a rectangular tub. Because of his condition he could not be carried in lap, he only slept on his sides. He could not be fed properly too.

"It is surprising that the swelling did not rupture and he was brought to AIIMS with great care. If it did it would have been fatal for the child."

But the baby`s surgery too was not a simple procedure, he said.

"I have conducted 200 such surgeries on Encephalocele cases in the past 30 years. But this was a unique one. It was challenging because of the sack`s size as fluid and blood loss management during surgery could have been difficult... Administering anaesthesia too was difficult due to the position of the protrusion," Dr Mahapatra said.