Toddler well after skin graft

2013-04-27 09:47

Five-year-old Celiwe Maseko from Kagiso near Krugersdorp, who was burnt when her dress caught fire, is doing well after she underwent skin graft surgery, Netcare911 has said.

Maseko’s attending paediatric intensivist, Dr Porai Moshesh, said the toddler’s vital signs were good, she had been sleeping well and it did not appear that she had problems with pain after Thursday’s surgery.

“Celiwe will remain heavily sedated for the next five to seven days, after which we will be able to determine whether the skin transplant has taken and the operation has been a success,” Moshesh said.

“If so, the clips that have been holding the skin in place will be removed.”

Maseko has severe third degree burns over 35% of her body. She was burnt on her back, stomach and thighs on January 4, after a friend who was playing with matches accidentally set her dress alight.

The operation took place at the Netcare Garden City Hospital in Johannesburg on Thursday night and lasted for about an hour and a half.

Netcare said her doctors were “cautiously optimistic” that her operation would be a success.

The surgical team, led by plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Ridwan Mia, used 14 of 15 pieces of skin which had been cloned for Maseko.

Mia said the next week would determine if the transplanted skin was accepted by the toddler’s body.

On Thursday, he said it was the second time the operation was performed in Africa and the first time it was done on a “dark-skinned patient”.

“This surgery has only been performed on a dark-skinned patient on one previous occasion in the history of medicine,” Mia said.

“Up until now burn victims have had previously few options available to them as this form of treatment was not available.”

Mia performed the surgery on three-year-old Limpopo burn victim Pippie Kruger, last year.

Kruger is still undergoing extensive rehabilitation therapy, after she sustained burns to 80% of her body at a braai on New Year’s Eve in 2011.

Netcare said Maseko’s cloned skin was thin and transparent and Mia hoped the skin on the burnt areas of her body would grow back with minimum scarring to reduce the trauma she had already suffered.

Maseko’s skin was grown at a laboratory at Genzyme in Boston, Massachusetts in America, as was Kruger’s.

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