Celiwe waits for 'Pippie' op

2013-04-25 20:21
Ridwan Mia (Picture: Beeld)

Ridwan Mia (Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Celiwe Maseko, from Kagiso near Krugersdorp, who was burnt when her dress caught fire, was scheduled to undergo skin graft surgery at the Netcare Garden City Hospital in Johannesburg on Thursday, Netcare said.

The 5-year-old Maseko has severe third degree burns over 35% of her body. She was burnt on her back, stomach and thighs on 4 January, after a friend who was playing with matches accidentally set her dress alight.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Ridwan Mia said the success of the surgery, which involves Maseko's cloned skin, would only be determined in a week.

He said the toddler would undergo an autologous skin transplant where skin grown from the patient was used.

"It is only the second time that the operation is being performed in Africa, and the first time that it is being undertaken on a dark-skinned patient," said Mia.

"This surgery has only been performed on a dark-skinned patient on one previous occasion in the history of medicine. Up until now burn victims have had preciously few options available to them as this form of treatment was not available."

First operation

Mia performed the surgery on 3-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.

Mia said Maseko would require a breast transplant and a number of other follow-up therapies.

"This procedure is an important landmark in the history of medical science on the African continent," said Mia.

He hoped a laboratory for skin tissue engineering for burn victims could be established in the country to reduce the cost of the skin and to make the surgery accessible to more people.

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

Read more on:    pippie kruger  |  johannesburg  |  fire  |  health

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