Doctors in India successfully replaced a nose of a 12-year-old boy. Since the nose was severely damaged and was beyond repair, surgeons grew a new nose on the boy’s forehead and then grafted it into its anatomically correct location through multiple surgeries.
Arun Patel’s nose was badly damaged and become completely disfigured following a severe bout of pneumonia when he was just a toddler. While the infection was pretty bad, it was the treatment for the disease that caused irreparable damage to the boy’s nasal cavity.
According to the Daily Mail, the boy’s nose started disappearing after the delicate tissue that makes up the organ rapidly shriveled and died following treatment by rogue doctors when he was a baby. Apparently, village doctors promised a cure for the boy’s condition and administered multiple injections to his face. The boy, who was just a month old at the time, had a very bad reaction to the medication. The injections caused rapid degeneration of the soft facial and nasal tissue, which eventually led to the nose to literally die and drop off, leaving the boy without a proper nasal cavity.
For more than a decade, the boy survived without a nose. However, a team of doctors in Indore, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, decided to conduct a rare four-phased plastic surgery to give Arun a new nose, reported BBC News. A surgical team comprised of leading surgeons was led by Dr. Ashwini Dash. The procedure, which involved multiple stages, took almost a year to complete, said Dr. Dash.
“Arun Patel’s nose had disappeared due to a side-effect of an injection when he was just one-month-old. A normal rhinoplasty was not possible on Arun’s face as his nose had almost disappeared. Therefore, we decided to perform a special plastic surgery on him, which is medically called as ‘pre-fabricated forehead flap rhinoplasty. I was confident that the new nose would work properly like his other organs.”
For the process, doctors first built an entire nose on the boy’s forehead before implanting it to its proper position. During the first phase of the complex procedure, a special silicon “tissue expander” was infused into the forehead, reported the Huffington Post. The expander forces the skin and tissue to grow more than it should. To further aid the expansion, doctors injected a special chemical. The second phase involved taking cartilage from the lower part of the boy’s chest to create a new nose.
The cartilage was attached to the growth on the forehead, and together with the skin and tissue, a rudimentary nose began to grow on his forehead over the course of three months. The location to grow the nose may seem odd; however, doctors decided it was ideal for the artificial nose to grow on the boy’s forehead. Apparently, there is good blood supply there that helps the tissue to grow healthily. After the artificially sculpted nose had grown, it was removed from the forehead and grafted on his face, shared Dr. Dash. The doctors then covered up the area on the forehead, which now a had rather large opening.
The doctors are expected to monitor the nose implant over the course of the next few months to ensure it has latched on correctly. Corrective surgery might be conducted in case the growth deviates.
What makes Arun’s case special is that the surgeons conducted all the operations free of cost since the boy’s family is extremely poor.
Speaking about the corrective surgery, the patient said, “I was too scared to see myself in the mirror I would always walk on roads with my head down. In school, the children used to be afraid of me and made fun of me. For me, it is just about getting a new nose, it is like getting a new life. Now, I can face the people with head held high.”
Dr. Dash confirmed that a similar procedure has been conducted earlier in China, and he was eager to replicate the same in India.
[Photo by Manjunath Kiran/Getty Images]