Roona Begum, Girl With Swollen Head, Undergoes Successful Surgery

A young child underwent life-saving surgery after suffering from a rare disorder that caused her head to swell to twice the normal size.

"The surgery went perfectly, much better than expected," Sandeep Vaishya told AFP at the hospital in Delhi said after the procedure on 15-month-old Roona Begum.

"It's definitely a success but it's too early to say what the quality of her future life will be like," said Vaishya.

Roona was born with hydrocephalus a condition that results in the collection of cerebrospinal fluid on the brain and affects one in every 500 children born, but can be treated to prevent the head from swelling. She is from a village in Tripura and her parents were too poor to pay for the common medical treatment.

Roona's father, Abdul Rahman, an illiterate laborer who earns about two dollars a day, could not afford to get her the treatment she needed. That caused her head to swell to more than 37 inches in circumference, which made it impossible for her to crawl or even sit upright.

After pictures taken by an AFP photographer spread, the private Fortis Healthcare group on the outskirts of Delhi offered to treat Roona for free.

Vaishya estimated the weight of the fluid in her head to be more than half her total body weight, causing severe pressure to build on her neck and lower part of her skull.

"The day she was born, then itself the doctor said there were no guarantees she would survive," Vaishya told AFP. "I figured we would do our best for as long as we could."

Roona is expected to make a full recovery after she undergoes extensive physiotherapy to strengthening the muscles in her neck to be able to support the weight of her normal-sized head.