An eight-month-old infant recently underwent a five-hour long procedure to remove an unusual appendage — a second head.
Surgeons removed from the Indian baby’s scalp a bulbous, parasitic “twin” weighing over 2 lbs. The large growth was the result of encephalomeningocele, a rare disease affecting one in 40,000 to 45,000 newborns. Although the odds were against him, young Tofajjal made it through the risky procedure without complications, and will now get a second shot at life.
“I have never operated on such a big lesion. It was a very critical operation and slightest slip-up during the vital surgery might have ended the life of the baby,” said Dr. Sisir Das to the Daily Mail. Das is a neurosurgeon at Kolkata’s Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, where the painstaking procedure was performed earlier this week.
“Just to deliver the kid back to his young mother was a challenge as they came all the way from a remote village of Tripura,” he added.
Prior to the surgery, Tofajjal’s parents had given up all hope, as most doctors and relatives told them that their child could never be cured and would soon die. In a final attempt to get a proper diagnosis, they brought him to the specialist in Kolkata.
“[No-one] said that my child would live. But with the blessings of Allah, I am taking him back home,” said Sabia Khatun, the baby’s mother.
According to Indian health officials, Tofajjal is showing signs of speedy recovery and will most likely be able to live a normal life. Hopefully, the only remnants of the second head will be a scar and a story to tell his kids.