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Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata performs a complex surgery on a 2-year-old child and gifted him his voice

Date: 21 May 19

Parents of Master Toufiq Hassan had lost all hope that they would get to hear the voice of their child ever. Since the time of birth there was no voice whenever the child cried, laughed or babbled. Even after visiting several doctors, nobody had a clue as to what was happening to the child. Around two years of age, little Toufiq started developing breathlessness and was wrongly treated for asthma by other centres. Finally, he came to the emergency of Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata with severe breathing difficulty and impending respiratory arrest.

His life was saved by carrying out an urgent tracheostomy by Dr Shantanu Panja, Senior ENT & Head & Neck Oncosurgeon at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata. With the efforts of the Paediatric Critical Care team at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals under Dr Abhishek Poddar he recovered and further endoscopy revealed that his vocal cords and windpipe were filled with papillomatous grape like growths leading to such a condition. He was suffering from an extremely rare condition called Juvenile-onset Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (JoRRP) with a prevalence of about 4 in 1,00,000 births, caused by Human Papilloma Virus Type 6,11 and 16. The same virus which is responsible for genital warts and sometimes cancer of uterine cervix. This condition is notorious for recurrence and extremely difficult to treat.

Subsequently, the child underwent three staged surgical procedures over a span of four months by Dr Shantanu Panja and his team whereby the disease was cleared endoscopically with a specialised tool called laryngeal microdebrider. It was a challenging procedure and required absolute precision so that the delicate windpipe and voice box of the two-year-old was not damaged in any way which could have led to irreversible loss of voice and narrowing of the airway. He was kept under keen observation and achieved full remission without any complication. His breathing tube has been successfully removed now after being absolutely sure of disease control and finally his parents could hear him speak for the first time.

He is presently undergoing speech therapy, as he has never spoken before. His parents now look forward to enrol him in a play school, once his speech improves.

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