A three-year-old girl suffering congenital hydrocephalus survived a grueling 17-hour surgery to replace her cranium with a 3D-printed titanium mesh, making this the first successful surgery of its kind in China.
The operation was carried out at the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province on July 15, according to CCTV News. The toddler, nicknamed Hanhan, is now staying in an intensive care unit for post procedure observation and further treatment.
Around 85 percent of the child’s skull was filled with cerebrospinal fluid, causing her head to swell nearly four times the size of a normal infant. Her tiny body could not support her abnormally sized head, and she’s had to remain lying in bed since September of last year.
On May 17, Hanhan was transferred to the Hunan hospital where she underwent a two-month treatment. The situation was improving but her skull was getting weaker. Doctors decided that she needed to undergo surgery to save her life.
Neurosurgeons successfully removed a large piece of skull from the toddler’s head and replaced it with a 3D-printed titanium mesh.
Around 15 kilos of fluid was drained from Hanhan’s brain in an operation likened to “opening an egg without damaging the egg membrane and keeping the white and yolk inside the egg”.
Tan Lihong, the president of the hospital, said the hospital performed the surgery free of charge, and plans on further organizing donation charities and volunteer activities to help the girl with her remaining treatment.
by Maggie Wong
[Images via Sina News]