By Taniya Dutta
An Indian boy who was found begging with a trunk-like nose has smiled for the first time after undergoing a life-saving and reconstructive surgery.
Ganesh was found by police roaming aimlessly in a village in Assam in northeast India crying incessantly of pain and hunger.
He was handed over to local activists and was named after the Hindu Elephant God because of his dangling nose.
But the boy could not move his face because of the heavy nose and eat, as opening his mouth was painful.
But now, the nine-year-old child is all smiles as doctors of Narayana Multi-specialty Hospital in Bangalore, have operated on him to not just give him a new face but also a new lease of life.
Senior consultant neurosurgeon Dr Shibu Pillai said Ganesh was suffering from a rare congenital defect called Frontonasal Encephalocele wherein a part of skull is not developed and bulges out creating large lumps on forehead.
He said: “Because of the defect, a part of his brain had bulged out of skull and created a large lump on his forehead.
“While the condition is not uncommon, what made Ganesh’s case so rare was that he was left untreated for a long time.
“Our first priority was to operate on him to reduce the swelling and reconstruct his nose. While the surgery was be complex and took nearly six hours, we are glad that it was successful,” added Dr Pillai.
Ganesh is all happy to get his face and ‘smile’ back but he would need to continue medication as he is mentally underdeveloped and speech impaired.
“Because of the defect, his growth was slower than children his age but with treatment and medicines his condition will be improved,” the doctor said.
Frontonasal Encephalocele are a form of neural tube defect where brain tissue and overlying meninges herniate out through a defect in the cranium and patients have swelling over the bridge of nose or inner canthus of eye since birth, with varying degrees of hypertelorism.
The little boy is back to the child home of Bakakhat Nirman Gut, the NGO in Assam where Jiten Gogoi and other volunteers are looking after him.
“We are extremely happy that he is fine and out of any danger. It is lovely to see him smiling. He is an adorable child. We hope with further treatment his speech can be improved,” says Gogoi.
The president of the NGO is now hoping that after the successful surgery, people would come forward to adopt Ganesh and give him a forever home.
“He is the most special child in our NGO. I have never seen a child like him before. He is a sweet child, very well-mannered. We hope that people understand he deserves love and give him a home to stay forever,” says Gogoi.