Boy undergoes facial surgery
A little boy's life was changed after he received facial reconstructive surgery for a cleft palate yesterday at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto.
Ithuteng Modisana, 7, was born with a defect in the roof of his mouth. His grandmother, Aria Modisana of Zeerust, North West, has been raising him because his mother is unwell and his father has never been around.
Modisana, 67, said when Ithuteng was born doctors told her about the defect but plans to correct it fell through.
Ithuteng only began talking when he was three years old but his granny said she couldn't understand what he said though the defect affected his speech.
"He eats properly, but cannot talk properly," she said. "When he was born the doctor told me he would be able to talk."
Ithuteng is in Grade 1, but his grandmother thinks he might have to repeat it because he has not been able to keep up with the rest of the class.
She said she was referred to a doctor in Zeerust, who put her in contact with the Smile Foundation.
"I'm very happy. I was worried about him. He must go to school, but right now he can't learn properly.
"So I just hope that after this he will be able to learn with the other children," she said at the hospital when her grandson was being operated on.
The operation, depending on the procedure needed, takes about two hours to perform and the patient need at least a week to recover.
"The patients need about a week to return to normal feeds," Dr Anton Potgieter said.
Michelle Gerszt of the Smile Foundation said parents of patients were given booklets with instructions on how to take care of the patients and not damage the repaired palate.
"It is a difficult procedure because it is in the mouth," Potgieter said.
Once the operation is done the patients come back for check-ups to make sure the palate is healing the right way.
The Smile Foundation is a nonprofit organisation that helps children with facial deformities or those who need facial corrective reconstructive surgery.
They will be helping 25 other children this month with surgery at the Chris-Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. - firstname.lastname@example.org