Manikandan, a 13 year old Indian boy, has had a tennis-ball sized part of his brain that oozed out of his skull removed from his face by surgeons. The teenager was subjected to an isolated life because of the rare medical condition called encephalocele. The condition caused part of his brain to bulge out of his skull, similar to a pendulum, making him look ‘ugly’ in the eyes of locals in the Kerala region. In addition, the condition also left Manikandan with obstructed vision and left him deformed.
His family lived in poverty, but his parents, desperate for life-changing treatment, sort the Government’s help, who saw to it that the poor boy had the operation to remove the unsightly ball of brain matter. A team of ten surgeons at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences removed the deformity during an 11 hour procedure – giving Manikandan and his family a brand new look at life.
Manikandan’s father, Selvan, a plantation worker who earns barely enough to survive, said, “We belong to the Marasar tribe and work in a plantation. I have five children, who are all normal and healthy, except Manikandan who was born with a swelling on the nose which kept growing. Because of the huge deformity on his face, he never went to school or mingled with others, as people used to make fun of his appearance.”
He added, “After surgery, he is eager to go back home, start school and make friends. I thank the doctors of Amrita Hospital from the bottom of my heart for enabling him to lead a normal life.”
Dr Subramania Iyer, who led the team of doctors during the operation, said: ‘It was a complex surgery. Manikandan’s encephlocele was very large which had pushed the bone of his right eye outwards. For surgery, his skull was opened and the normal brain isolated from the sac of non-functioning brain matter hanging from his face.”
He added, “The removal of the deformity had left a defect in the skull, so a portion of that had to be reconstructed – a ‘huge surgical challenge. We had to reposition patient’s eye sockets to remove the deformity in the right eye, and the nose was also remodeled.” Manikandan has now recovered fully from the surgery and is ready for discharge. Now the teen can finally be able to attend school and participate in all social activities like any child his age.