Successful Op For Toddler Whose Head Swelled To Three Times Normal Size

14/08/2014 16:49 | Updated 22 May 2015

A toddler whose skull swelled to three times its normal size is recovering after life-saving surgery.

Roona Begum was born with hydrocephalus, which results in a build-up of fluid – accounting for half her total body weight - in her swollen skull.

Her swollen head had put pressure on her brain and made it impossible for her to sit upright or crawl.

She faced a slow death as her dad Abdul, who earns less than £2 a day in a brick factory, could not afford her treatment.

Successful op for toddler whose head swelled to three times normal size

But heartbreaking pictures of Roona Begum went round the world and were spotted by two Norwegian college students, Jonas Borchgrevink and Nathalie Krantz, who started an online campaign.

It raised £34,000 to help her family and fund any future aftercare treatment and prompted a a hospital run by the private Fortis Healthcare group to treat Roona for free.

After the operation at a New Delhi hospital in India, surgeon Sandeep Vaishya said: "The surgery went perfectly, much better than expected. It's definitely a success but it's too early to say what the quality of her future life will be like."

So far, doctors have reduced the swelling by over a third from 37ins to 23.6ins by draining fluid from her skull into an external plastic bag, allowing them to perform hour-long surgery.

The operation involved inserting of a shunt to drain the fluid out of her head and towards her abdomen where it can be absorbed easily into the blood stream.

Successful op for toddler whose head swelled to three times normal size

Little Roona, from the north eastern state of Tripura, will still need extensive physiotherapy to allow her to lead a fully functional life.

Vaishya added: "Her neck muscles are very under-developed, so she will need more nutrition and extensive physiotherapy to make her stronger.

"Her body will have to grow strong so she can learn to sit up and move about and live a normal life."

Dad Abdul, 26, said he had prayed constantly for a 'miracle' to save his little girl.

He added: "The day she was born, then itself the doctor said there were no guarantees she would survive.

"I figured we would do our best for as long as we could and Allah would help us with the rest."

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