Brain de-wired to give 7 year old Sai Rithish back his childhood

A team of specialists at Fortis Malar Hospital gave 7 year old Master Sai Rithish, a new lease of life. The child was suffering from Epilepsy from the age of one and a half years old and not responding to medication. The team of doctors at Fortis Malar who performed the surgery included Dr. S Dinesh Nayak, HOD & Senior Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist Dr. V Sathish Kumar, Consultant Neurologist, Dr. Ravi Mohan Rao, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Dr Soundappan V, Sr. Consultant Neurosurgeon, Dr S Selvapandian, Sr. Consultant Neurosurgeon, Dr. Biswarup Pal, Consultant Neuro Anesthetists & HOD Critical Care Medicine, Dr Vikas Agarwal, Consultant Neurologist and Dr. Arul, Neurosurgeon.

Born healthy, it was at the age of one that Rithish’s parents started noticing abnormalities and sudden seizures. Initially the seizures occurred infrequently, and were mild in nature. At 3 ½ years, things took a turn and he would often fall down to the left side at a particular time every evening. Subsequently, his parents noticed clumsiness of the left hand and a slight limp of the left leg when he started walking .The repeated falls left him injured him with multiple bruises all over his body.

After consulting over 15 doctors across Chennai and having been treated with multiple anti-epileptic drugs, his struggle ended at Fortis Malar Hospital, Adyar, Chennai. On arrival, a thorough investigation which included EEG and MR study revealed that the boy had an extensive Cortical Dysplasia involving majority of the right hemisphere. Cortical dysplasia is the most common cause of drug-resistant epilepsy in children and the second/third most common cause of seizures in adults. “Around 20% of all epilepsies are drug resistant; more than half of these patients are potential candidates for surgical treatment with a good chance of seizure free life. Further, this particular scenario seen in Rithish occurs only in 1% of all drug resistant epilepsy patients”, said Dr Dinesh Nayak, HOD & Senior Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist, Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai.

Epilepsy is one of the commonest neurological conditions, with a prevalence rate of 0.5% and an incidence rate of 0.05%. There are over 6 million patients with epilepsy in the country. Epilepsy affects all age groups and all socio-economic strata. The highest incidence is in childhood and early adulthood. This has significant impact on the psychosocial, educational and emotional functioning of the individual and the family. By treating these patients early, before they develop handicap, their quality of life can be restored. They can get back to studies, get employed, get married and lead normal lives and contribute to society.” added Dr Satish Kumar, Consultant Neurologist, Fortis Malar Hospital.

On September 27th, a team of experts from Dept of Epilespy with consists of neuro surgeons, neurologists, neurophysiologists and neuro-anaesthetists performed a right functional hemispherectomy and de-wired the entire right hemisphere. The brain functions were monitored throughout the operation In this 9 hour procedure, the surgeon had very carefully cut all the connections between the two brain hemispheres, so that the seizures originating from the abnormal right hemisphere will not be able to spread to the healthy left hemisphere. Damage to the right hemisphere of the brain may lead to disruption of cognitive processes, resulting in communication problems. However, neuroplasticity ensures that if one hemisphere of the brain is damaged, the intact hemisphere takes over some of its functions. The brain compensates for damage in effect by reorganizing and forming new connections between intact neurons. In order to reconnect, the neurons need to be stimulated through activity.

“Our son has been suffering for the last 6 years. Many a times we almost gave up and felt helpless when he would get recurrent uncontrollable seizures. Today, the surgery has not only changed my son’s life but has also changed our life drastically; our boy has not had a single seizure since then. It is overwhelming to see him smile, laugh, play like normal children his age and to know that he will be joining school soon. Our faith in god and the doctors at Fortis Malar kept us going and encouraged us to stay strong through the journey. It was, a dream come true when we recently managed to walk up with Sai and take the blessings of Lord Muruga at Tirutani Temple. ” said Mr. Sethuraman (Father of Sai Rithish).

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