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One-day-old child operated on 
for spinal deformity in Dubai

Asma Ali Zain / 17 July 2012

A one-day-old baby has been operated upon to correct a congenital vertebral (backbone) deformity that could have proved fatal. In a delicate and rare surgery, neurosurgeons at Saudi German Hospital carried out two surgeries on the now five-day-old Indian baby boy who has been discharged from the hospital.

According to the senior neurosurgeon at the hospital, Dr Fadel Fouad Gendy, the child was born with a form of spinabifida (lumbar meningeo-myelocele) in which a 15cm ball of nerves, membranes and fluid protruded out of the backbone through a hole. “If the child was not operated upon immediately, there was a chance that he could contract meningitis or infection through the opening which could be fatal,” said Dr Gendy.

khaleej timesThe surgery at Saudi German Hospital. — Supplied photo

He also said that a number of hospitals had refused to operate on the child who had been born in Abu

Dhabi. “Hospitals refused to do a surgery because of the age of the child, lack of neurosurgeons and limited space in neonatology departments,” explained the doctor.

“The patient was referred to me and my team for surgical intervention and we did the surgery immediately,” he added. A day after the surgery, a CT scan of the baby’s brain showed presence of hydrocephalus (water in the brain that causes swelling). “He has been operated upon through a shunt and is doing fine now,” said Dr Gendy.

Though the child’s lower body has been affected by the deformity, the surgery will prevent future complications, said the doctor.

Spinabifida can be caused by a combination of genetic factors and environmental influences. Because of weakness or paralysis below the level of the spine abnormality, most children could require physiotherapy and other orthopaedic assistance to enable them to walk.



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