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Doctors used 2500-year-old technique of Sushruta to reconstruct Afghan woman's nose

PTI Oct 09, 2018

Doctors at a city hospital in New Delhi have reconstructed the nose of a gunshot victim from Afghanistan using over 2500-year-old techniques described by Sushruta, the father of surgery.




The woman was shot four years ago. Though she was fortunate to have survived the attack, she lost most part of her nose and the ability to breathe and smell, Ajaya Kashyap, Medical Director of KAS Medical Centre and MedSpa said. She suffered the injury when she was 24-years-old and was about to get married and settle down. The family later travelled all the way to India so that she can undergo a plastic surgery for her nose, the doctor said.

Explaining the surgical approach Kashyap said, "We often fail to take pride in the fact that some of the most advanced and modern surgical procedures, like plastic surgery, have their roots in India like Sushruta's techniques."  

"They are so precise and scientifically accurate that they could be used even today for nose and ear reconstructions. All we have to do is to modify them to sync with latest treatment modalities," he said. In this case, the doctors took skin from the patient's cheeks for the surgery, held on October 8, and followed the techniques described by Sushruta.

However, considering the complications usually involved in such cases, the procedure required great precision and expertise, Kashyap said. Explaining the challenges faced during the surgery, he said when it came to facial reconstruction surgeries, along with addressing associated medical issues, there was a need to take care of its cosmetic aspects. 

In this case, the challenge was to reconstruct a major part of the nose without creating further scars, he said. "To avoid this, we had to take tissues from inside of the cheeks to reconstruct flaps for nasal septum and nasal passage which is a tedious procedure. But all the effort was worth taking as we managed to give the patient the exact results she wanted," he said.

The woman shared her experience taking help of a translator. "Shootings are fairly common in our country. For survivors it is always hard to get over the psychological and physical trauma, especially if it comes with the added horror of disfiguration and amputation," she said.

"I cannot express in words how blessed I feel today to be able to talk, smell and breath normally after four years. This surgery changed my entire life. I believe it may also motivate many others back home to take such expert medical help," she added.

The technique used by Kashyap in the operation was first introduced by Sushruta, over 2500 years ago. In his treatise on medicine 'Sushruta Samhita', the ancient Indian physician addressed aspects of general medicine along with various surgical techniques and procedures, particularly nasal reconstruction.

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