Roona Begum: 18-Month-Old with Swollen Head Recovering after Life-Saving Surgery [VIDEO]

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By Ankita Mehta | May 16, 2013 9:18 PM EST

Roona  Begum, the 18-month-old girl from Tripura whose head had swollen to the size of a huge balloon, underwent a life-saving surgery on Wednesday  

The toddler, who suffered from a rare medical condition - Hydrocephalus, was admitted to Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) in Delhi last month for surgery.

Fortis Hospital had funded her medical expenses and conducted the surgery to drain out the excess liquid from her head.

Neurosurgeon Sandeep Vaishya made a series of swift incisions on the right side of her head during the surgery, Agence France-Presse reported. Before implanting a shunt, catheter and valve, Vaishya used a drill to pierce her skull.

After inserting the shunt, soft and pliable piece of tubing, doctors were able to drain the fluid out of her head.

Vaishya told Agence France-Presse that "the surgery was much better than it was expected. It's a success but it's too early to say what the quality of her future life will be like."

The 18-month-old was born with the medical condition Hydrocephalus or "water on the brain". Hydrocephalus is a condition that causes accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain's cavities causing it to swell like a balloon. In Begum's case, her head had swollen to more than double its normal size to a circumference of 94 centimetres (37 inches).

"We have done hundreds of surgeries in such babies, but not ever in such a big head. Most of the time they had circumference of 45 to 50 centimeters, but Roona  Begum's case makes it more challenging," Vaishya said.

Doctors have reduced the swelling in her head but she still needs lot of medical attention. Her body is under-developed and she will need extensive physiotherapy to make her stronger.  

"Her neck muscles are very underdeveloped so she will need more nutrition and extensive physiotherapy to make her stronger," Vaishya said.

"Her body will have to grow strong so she can learn to sit up and move about and live a normal life."

Check out the footage of her surgery here:

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