Neurosurgeons at Sidra Medicine, a member of Qatar Foundation, have performed minimally invasive surgery on an infant born with a congenital condition called scaphocephaly.
Scaphocephaly is a disorder which occurs when the two parietal bones of the skull are prematurely fused together. It is characterised by a misshaped long and narrow head.
Baby Ahmed was referred to Sidra Medicine when doctors noticed that his skull was growing in an elongated shape and would require specialist attention. Following a thorough review of the options – traditional open surgery versus the use of an endoscope - the Multidisciplinary (MDT) surgery team at Sidra Medicine went with the minimally invasive endoscopic approach.
Dr Khalid al-Kharazi, senior paediatric neurosurgeon at Sidra Medicine who led the endoscopic procedure on Ahmed, said: “It was critical that Ahmed was transferred to Sidra Medicine during the first few weeks of his life. Early detection of his condition allowed us to use a minimally invasive approach when he was only two months old. The earlier an endoscopic approach is performed on children with scaphocephaly, the better the result as it would provide the best esthetic outcomes and lowest reoperation rate as well as minimal blood loss when compared to traditional surgery.
"The procedure is harder to implement once the children are older than six months, as then we would have to consider using an open-surgery approach, which in some cases doesn’t allow for sufficient correction of the skull.”
Ahmed’s care was led by a multidisciplinary team of physicians, surgeons and nurses from neurosurgery; craniofacial and plastic surgery; ophthalmology; genetics; ENT and orthotics. The MDT surgery clinic at Sidra Medicine is led by Dr Mitch Stotland and Dr Graeme Glass. The team also consulted Dr Owase Jeelani, a visiting surgeon from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Ahmed’s endoscopy took two hours and involved opening of the early suture as well as two small incisions to his scalp. Surgeons Dr al-Kharazi and Dr Ian Pople then used a small lighted endoscope to reconstruct Ahmed’s misshaped skull.
Dr Pople, division chief of Neurosurgery at Sidra Medicine, said: “We take great pride in the varied cutting-edge surgical techniques available at Sidra Medicine, moving towards more truly keyhole techniques with our specialised endoscopic equipment. Our priority is to ensure that our
young patients experience the least amount of pain and discomfort. Taking a minimally invasive approach to treat baby Ahmed was safer as it meant that there would be decreased blood loss and a shorter operative time. Most importantly, it would allow Ahmed to be discharged earlier and back home with his family in a matter of days.”
Following the endoscopy, Ahmed was discharged after only two nights, with the small incisions healed in a few days. He also underwent helmet therapy by the MDT clinic’s craniofacial/plastic team to manipulate the correct shape of his skull. Within three months from the day of his endoscopy and with the help of his helmet, Ahmed now has a normal-shaped head.
Commenting on the care Ahmed received at Sidra Medicine, his parents said: “Our first moments with Ahmed were fraught with concern, as the doctors in the delivery room noticed his misshapen head right away. After going through the initial assessments, we were then referred to Sidra
Medicine. To have such world-class care at our doorstep is life-changing. It saved us the time, resources and the challenges of taking him abroad for treatment. We are extremely grateful for the care that was provided at the hospital – which has been a very positive experience particularly under the care of Dr Khalid al-Kharazi and Dr Ian Pople.”
Sidra Medicine offers "pioneering paediatric surgeries, including neurosurgery; craniofacial and plastic surgery; otolaryngology; ophthalmology; orthopedic and urology surgery; paediatric general and thoracic surgery; perioperative surgery; renal transplants; and reconstructive surgery for short bowel syndrome", it has stressed in a statement. For more details, one can visit www.sidra.org