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Sat 20 May 2017 01:51 PM

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Abu Dhabi surgeon saves child born with liver outside his body

Two weeks after his birth, the boy underwent the five-hour operation

Abu Dhabi surgeon saves child born with liver outside his body

Surgeons in Abu Dhabi saved a child who was born with a portion of his small intestine as well as his entire liver outside his body.

The organs hung from a huge spherical sac sealed by a thin membranous lining from the umbilicus. The newborn underwent surgery two weeks after birth. The operation lasted five hours and was successful.

Dr Raja Cingapagu, the pediatric surgeon at Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women & Children in Abu Dhabi who performed the operation, said: “The newborn was diagnosed at 12 weeks. The mother was placed under observation until delivery, which was scheduled at the 37th week of pregnancy.”

“Tests performed on the fetus during pregnancy and on the child after birth showed absent muscles in the central abdomen around the navel, which led to parts of the stomach, small intestine and liver extruding outside the abdomen  in a spherical sac measuring around 7 centimeters in diameter. The sac was sealed by the umbilical cord lining, which allowed the organs to remain well preserved while outside of the body.

“It was decided to perform the surgery to return the organs inside the abdominal cavity and to treat the hernia closing the abdominal wall muscles. However, this required preparing the newborn using a pressure belt around the sac of organs to reduce its size and increase the capacity of abdomen to accommodate the organs in preparation to return the organs to the abdominal cavity, a process which continued for two weeks at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,” Dr Raja said.

Two weeks after the birth, the newborn underwent the operation, during which the umbilical lining was removed, abdominal muscles were restructured and the various organs were returned to the abdominal cavity.

Such cases are rare, occurring once every 20,000 births.

Ashraf Abunar, the father, said: “We felt somewhat worried as we saw our son after birth and how his internal organs were outside the abdominal wall. However, the attention and care my son received from the very first moment and the provision of the best healthcare services in the hospital contributed to alleviate us. Throughout our journey, the medical staff provided a detailed explanation to me and my wife about our son's condition and the treatment plan.”

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