New surgery to treat facial disorder

KUALA LUMPUR - UNIVERSITY of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) carried out surgery to treat two toddlers with functional problems caused by facial deformities last month. The children, aged 2 and 3, are doing well.

UMMC consultant oral and maxilofacial surgeon Prof Datuk Dr Zainal Ariff Abd Rahman said the condition could now be treated better using a new technique known as monobloc distraction osteogenesis.

"The syndrome when not treated can be fatal as the skull does not expand in line with an infant's growth," he said during a briefing at Universiti Malaya recently.

"We need to educate the public on this rare syndrome that should be treated early."

He added that as the skull did not expand, space to accommodate vital organs, such as the brain and eyes, was restricted.

"The empty space or airway behind the nose is also cramped, which may cause breathing difficulty."

The situation will increase pressure in the skull, causing headaches, dizziness and seizures.

The baby would also have a higher risk of eye infection as the eye socket could hold the eyes.

"The cramped airways will also cause sleeping difficulties and parents need to constantly monitor their child as the baby might turn blue in minutes because of lack of oxygen."

He said the treatment was available in countries like Australia five years ago, but was only available in Malaysia after intense research.

UMMC Genetics and Metabolism unit head Professor Dr Thong Meow Keong said the condition, known as Crouzon syndrome, affected about three per cent of newborn babies.

Source: New Straits Times

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