Rare surgery for rare defect

A rare surgery using 3D imaging was performed by surgeons of Fortis Hospital in Kolkata on a six-month-old girl with premature fusion of two floating bones in the skull, which, if left untreated, could have caused blindness and facial deformity.

The child was suffering from craniosynostosis, a birth defect that causes one or more sutures (the borders of bone plates of skull) on a baby's head to close earlier than normal.

"Instead of the child's brain and skull growing together, in this case, the skull had stopped growing resulting in high pressure that could have led to blindness and other facial deformities," said neuro-surgeon Dr Amitabha Chanda, who conducted the surgery. "Such cases are rarest of rare — found one in 2,000 to 2,500 infants," said maxilofacial surgeon Dr Srijon Mukherjee.

For the surgery, a real size 3D model of the baby's skull was made on the basis of a CT scan on which the surgical changes were first made. "The surgery took less than five hours as there was no planning time involved," Mukherjee said.

The surgery relieved the child of high intra-cranial pressure. We corrected the deformity of the skull and face and stopped progression of mid-face deformity. We took this unique, yet critical measure, to fix the problem both neurologically and aesthetically —Dr Amitabha Chanda

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