A skull bone stored in the abdomen of 20-year-old college student Rakesh has given him a second chance at life. Rakesh met with an accident on March 26 while on his way to college on his two-wheeler. Doctors at St Martha's Hospital, where he was rushed, decided to remove his injured skull bone and let the brain swell up to ease blood flow.Today, Rakesh ‘s abdomen shelters a portion of his skull. After three weeks, this bone will be put back in the brain in a procedure called decompressive craniotomy that's considered a last resort for patients with brain injury. Here the injured skull bone is removed to let the brain swell to avoid compressions.“The accident happened at 7:30 a.m on March 26 near Palace Road. My son was immediately shifted to St. Martha’s Hospital. I was in the Middle East and I was not completely aware of his condition. By the time I reached Bengaluru the next day, he had been already operated upon. My son survived and that was my biggest happiness”, Rakesh’s Father said.
Dr Krishnaprasad M, consultant neurosurgeon, St Martha's Hospital, who operated on Rakesh, said there was blood clot on the right side of the patient's brain. "A skull bone flap, 10-cm long and 7-cm wide, has been removed and place in the sub-cutaneous pouch of the abdomen. This makes way for the brain to swell up and eases blood flow to the organ. After three weeks, the same bone flap will be placed back in the skull. We could have gone for alternative methods like using high-graded metallic mesh. But we may not have got the desired shape and hence avoided it," said Dr Krishnaprasad.
Why the abdominal pouch?It's the safest place available in the human body to store a skull bone. The body doesn't discard it as a foreign material, explained Dr Krishnaprasad. "Refrigerating the bone flap was not an option as there could be variations in temperatures in case of a power cut. Placing it in the patient's abdomen was the safest option," he added.