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Updated: July 17, 2013 13:31 IST

Rare surgery at GH restores voice to patient

Special Correspondent
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A 24-year-old’s windpipe was strengthened and his voice restored in a rare surgery — Photo: R. Ragu
The Hindu A 24-year-old’s windpipe was strengthened and his voice restored in a rare surgery — Photo: R. Ragu

A 24-year-old man from Tindivanam, whose airway had narrowed after he consumed pesticide, underwent a rare surgery at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH) to restore his voice.

The patient, who refused to be identified, is a farmer’s son. He said he had attempted suicide on December 26, 2011, while working at a shop selling pesticides.

He was taken unconscious, to Jipmer, Puducherry, where he was put on a ventilator. Doctors there diagnosed his condition as superior laryngeal nerve palsy — paralysis of his trachea, the windpipe — that made it difficult for him to breathe.

Two months after the incident, he sought treatment at a private hospital in Porur. But after spending Rs. 3.5 lakh and undergoing a tracheostomy (a surgical procedure that creates an opening in the neck into the windpipe), he returned home with a tube in his throat and a compromised voice box.

Not happy with his condition, he approached GH. Surgeons who operated on him here said he suffered from subglottic stenosis, a condition in which the airways narrow, leading to breathing difficulties.

“The trachea is important for airflow into the lungs. In this patient’s case, as the windpipe was weakened, he could have acquired frequent lung infections. We used a silicon stent to hold up his trachea. The stent is 7-cm long and costs Rs. 1.5 lakh,” said ENT surgeon G. Gananathan, who performed the surgery.

Hospital dean V. Kanagasabai said the patient would be able to lead a normal life – he would be able to lift weights and work in the farm.

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