Syrian baby born with part of his BRAIN protruding from his head

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Abdullatif Shekrak was diagnosed with encephalocele, which is estimated to strike around one in 12,000 babies, in the womb (pictured before)


 A Syrian baby born with two heads is lucky to be alive after a successful operation to amputate the second head.

The child was born with part of his brain protruding from his head but managed to escape death after a risky operation to close the opening.

Abdullatif Shekrak was diagnosed with encephalocele, which is estimated to strike around one in 12,000 babies, in the womb.

The condition arises when a baby’s skull doesn’t close, causing a sac-like protrusion of the brain and its covering membranes through an opening in the skull.

Abdullatif was left with a mammoth 2.2lbs (1kg) mass, which appeared to look like he had a second head.

Abdullatif Shekrak was diagnosed with encephalocele, which is estimated to strike around one in 12,000 babies, in the womb (pictured before)

Abdullatif Shekrak was diagnosed with encephalocele, which is estimated to strike around one in 12,000 babies, in the womb (pictured before)

The condition arises when a baby's skull doesn't close, causing a sac-like protrusion of the brain and its covering membranes through an opening in the skull (pictured after)

The condition arises when a baby's skull doesn't close, causing a sac-like protrusion of the brain and its covering membranes through an opening in the skull (pictured after)

The condition arises when a baby’s skull doesn’t close, causing a sac-like protrusion of the brain and its covering membranes through an opening in the skull (pictured after)

Surgeons were forced to operate on him when he was just three days old, but the complex procedure to push his brain back in proved successful. 

Abdullatif’s mother Sana Hilel, of Aleppo, decided to cross the Turkish border to have her seventh child by C-section.

The 37-year-old made the 60-mile (97km) journey across war-torn Syria to Mustafa Kemal University Hospital in Antakya.

Facing almost certain death, Abdullatif was rushed to Iskenderun Developmental Hospital on the Mediterranean coast.

Surgeons were forced to operate on him when he was just three days old, but the complex procedure to push his brain back in proved successful (pictured during the operation)

Surgeons were forced to operate on him when he was just three days old, but the complex procedure to push his brain back in proved successful (pictured during the operation)

Surgeons were forced to operate on him when he was just three days old, but the complex procedure to push his brain back in proved successful (pictured during the operation)

Abdullatif's mother Sana Hilel (pictured with Dr Mehmet Koparan, who performed the surgery), of Aleppo, decided to cross the Turkish border to have her seventh child by C-section

Abdullatif's mother Sana Hilel (pictured with Dr Mehmet Koparan, who performed the surgery), of Aleppo, decided to cross the Turkish border to have her seventh child by C-section

Abdullatif’s mother Sana Hilel (pictured with Dr Mehmet Koparan, who performed the surgery), of Aleppo, decided to cross the Turkish border to have her seventh child by C-section

WHAT IS ENCEPHALOCELE?

Encephalocele is a rare birth defect where the structure that forms the brain and spinal cord folds and closes.

This causes a sac-like protrustion of the brain and its covering membranes through an opening in the skull.

It affects around one in 12,200 babies born in the US every year. Its UK prevalence is unknown.  

Encephalocele’s exact cause is unclear but may be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as insufficient vitamin D and folic acid during pregnancy.

Treatment involves surgery to place the protruding brain back into the skull and close the opening.

The patient may experience ongoing complications. 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

There, brain, nerve and spinal specialists placed the protruding brain back into his skull and closed the opening.

Dr Mehmet Koparan, who performed the surgery, claims a case of encephalocele this severe would often have been fatal.

He told local reporters: ‘Encephalocele is seen in one in 5,000 live births. Grades three and four are less common, and often deadly.’

Doctors diagnosed Abdullatif with grade three encephalocele, which is sometimes known medically as cranium bifidum. 

The operation lasted three hours but was fraught with difficulty. Dr Koparan said: ‘Of course, it was complicated because of the brain tissue. 

‘A wrong surgical intervention could cause the patient to die of respiratory failure and hydrocephalus, which is a collection of fluid in his brain.’ 

Following surgery, Abdullatif was placed in intensive care and, after eight hours of monitoring, was allowed to breathe on his own. 

Dr Koparan told local reporters that Abdullatif has finally been discharged and he expects him to enjoy a normal life.  

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