Baby with ‘Tessier’s facial cleft’ gets full face reconstruction at Aster CMI Hospital
Hailing from Ballari, Karnataka baby Huligemma was born with a congenital defect in his facial structure, Tessier’s facial cleft, involving the upper half of the face, right eye, upper lip and palate. She required complex craniofacial reconstructive surgeries to restore her facial appearance, be well nourished, and develop good speech.
But, due to the family’s economic situation, they could not bear the cost of the treatment and pinned all their hopes on a miracle that could give their child a new life. Tessier’s facial cleft is a set of related conditions that cause clefts or defects in the soft tissues and bones of the face that are more severe or follow different patterns from the common form of cleft lip and palate.
Usually, babies born with this condition require corrective surgeries for healthy growth, development, and appearance. With the help of the team of doctors at Aster CMI Hospital, Dr. Chetan Ginigeri, Senior Consultant – Pediatrics and Pediatric Intensive Care, Dr. Sathish MS Vasishta, Consultant – Craniomaxillofacial Surgery and Dr. V Arun, Senior Consultant – Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Dr Gaurang J Kothari, Consultant – Anesthesia and Intensive Care and other Surgeons, Huligemma has undergone all corrective surgeries and is now leading a normal life.
Speaking about Huligemma’s case, Dr. Chetan Ginigeri, Senior Consultant – Pediatrics and Pediatric Intensive Care, Aster CMI Hospital, said: “Huligemma had a face with a cleft extending into the palate, lip, right side of the nose up to the right side of the eye.
She required a complex reconstruction procedure to reconstruct her facial deformities and give her a very good functional and aesthetic result in terms of nasal cleft bypass. We were able to give good reconstructive surgery by erasing her disfigurement which was made possible with the help of the craniomaxillofacial and pediatric anesthesia team.
Now she is recovering quickly, she is able to feed herself well without spilling food and milk through her nose, she is talking and undergoing speech rehabilitation. She will gain weight and develop normally. Self-esteem issue may occur mildly in older children with severe cleft palate and facial deformities.
This can be resolved by providing the required reconstructive surgery at a young age. Commenting on the complications from the surgery, Dr Sathish MS Vasishta, Consultant Craniomaxillofacial Surgery, Aster CMI Hospital, said: “Huligemma suffered from a very rare disease and to get her a normal facial appearance she underwent three procedures until ‘nowadays. .
She needs another procedure for the final correction of the palate. She underwent functional reconstructive surgery, the first procedure when she was five months old. It took six hours to prepare the facial cleft, reconstruct the lower eyelid and re-correct part of her face. We did cleft palate surgery in the second procedure when she was 11 months old. The third operation was bilateral cleft lip repair and was performed at 15 months of age. She has a residual defect on the palate because the palate has been opened wide.
Dr V Arun, Senior Consultant – Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Aster CMI Hospital, said: “For a small child undergoing major surgery under general anaesthetic, this is a huge challenge. Huligemma was only five months old when we did the first operation.
The presence of a large facial cleft also made it risky to maintain her airway and support her breathing during and after surgery. This requires expertise in the skills and equipment that make these rare surgeries safe for children of this age. Anesthesia for these prolonged surgeries and intensive postoperative monitoring are essential to achieve a good surgical outcome with minimal blood loss.
Multiple anesthesia for 3-4 surgeries also requires significant coordination with all teams to ensure the patient’s nutrition and care is not compromised while in hospital. my husband and I were over the moon.
However, during the eight month examination, we discovered the deformities. It was difficult for us. Our immediate parents started persecuting us for having an abortion. But my baby doesn’t deserve this. It’s not his fault. She is innocent. Then we arrived at the Aster CMI hospital.
The doctors were kind to us and told us about the corrective surgeries. They even showed us videos of children on the internet who were born like my baby but went on to lead normal lives after the operation. Now she has completed all the surgeries and we are very happy to see how our daughter is leading a happy life.
We thank the social organizations that cooperated with Aster CMI for funding and helping our daughter. Also, I would like to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff for breathing new life into it.