Rare surgery performed on one-year-old Sri Lankan boy

A one-year-old boy, Ashaswathan underwent a relatively rare brain surgery at Global Hospital in the city early last month. The child had a large lesion in his brain stem, and it took doctors two surgical procedures to remove it. Ashaswathan is now undergoing physiotherapy, and given his young age, doctors expect a full recovery soon.

Hailing from Batticaloa in Sri Lanka, the search for treatment for their only child brought S. Jayakanth and S. Sowmiya all the way to Chennai. “After he turned one, his left eye started shutting and he had very little sensation in the left side of his body. Some time later he stopped moving altogether,” said Ms. Sowmiya, who broke down while describing her son’s condition. The couple took him to a local doctor, who directed them to a hospital in Colombo.

A neurologist who did an MRI scan told them about the lesion (5cm in diameter) on Ashaswathan’s brain stem. Following the advice of a family member, the couple finally contacted K. Sridhar, head of the neurology department at Global Hospitals in Chennai.

Dr. Sridhar, along with his team, performed the first surgery on November 5, where they attempted to remove a vascular malformation – cavernous angioma. At a post-operative scan, they found that residual traces of the lesion still existed. The doctors then planned another surgery.

“We couldn’t see much because it was a very small space,” said Dr. Sridhar.

In the second surgery on November 19, doctors removed the solid clots in the stem and went on to completely remove the vascular malformation.

Ashaswathan can now see through both eyes and is gradually regaining strength in his left limbs, and with time will become as active as any child his age, doctors said.

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