Doctors at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne have operated on a little boy from Papua New Guinea (PNG) to correct a severe facial deformity.
Thanks to the generous support of ROMAC, a program of the Rotary Districts of Australia and New Zealand, and the skills of surgeons and staff at RCH, twenty month old Asi Heni’s beautiful, beaming smile will be the first thing his father and 5 year old brother see when he returns home.
Asi was born with a rare cranio-facial abnormality called an encephalocele. This is a hernia of the brain where the brain and its surrounding fluid protrudes into the facial region.
The surgery required a combined approach with experienced plastic and reconstructive surgeons, neurosurgeons, anaesthetists and nurses. Neurosurgeon Mr Patrick Lo and plastic surgeon Mr Tony Holmes operated to reduce the herniated brain, prevent the leakage of brain fluid, and reconstruct the orbit and nose. Surgeons removed the front of the skull, repaired the brain deformity and rebuilt Asi’s face with bone grafts.
When ROMAC representatives first met Asi in PNG they immediately resolved to raise funds to bring him to Australia for surgery. Rotary Clubs in Victoria donated funds, and McDonald’s Restaurants in Victoria raised $20,000 for the project through a statewide Drive-Thru Challenge.