STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Just weeks after a surgical team on New York’s Long Island began a series of operations to rebuild both lips of an eight-year-old boy mauled by chimpanzees in Africa, the sound of success filled a play room at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital.
A couple of weeks after getting a reconstructive surgery from a surgical team on New York’s Long Island; a young boy Dunia Sibomana is now on the path to recovery, according to the Toronto Sun.
Dunia was mauled by chimpanzees in Africa, which saw surgeons in the hospital work hard to reconstruct his lips, and is now able to speak more clearly and stop constant drooling according to lead surgeon Dr. Alexander Dagum, the hospital’s chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery, per the Toronto Sun. The paper wrote that “slurp” was heard as the eight-year old sipped a spoonful of chicken broth through his newly created lips.
Yong Sibomana was playing with children in Democratic Republic of Congo when chimpanzees attacked, ripping off his lips and killing his younger brother. The attack was so severe that the only way forward was to make him undergo lips reconstruction. The rare double-lip reconstruction requires several surgeries over the cause of about nine months, with the first taking place on January 11.
The surgery, which was supposed to last eight hours, extended to 14 following some complications. Dr Dagum had to harvest a rectangle of skin, nerve, tendon and vein from young Sibomana’s forearm and used it to form the circle of both lips.
However, it turned out that the vein was too short to reach a crucial blood supply in the neck so Dagum scrambled to collect a second vein from Sibomana’s upper arm to make the connection.
It became a race against time in order to keep the transferred tissue alive by surgically restoring the blood supply, as Dagum looked through a microscope and sewed vein to vein and nerve to nerve.
In the end, Dagum said he was surprised by the extent the young boy is now able to move his lips, which will improve further as swelling subsides. A subsequent surgery this summer is also meant to enhance the movement and look of the lips.
“We’re really happy. We got more than we expected,” Dagum said
Sibomana remained sedated for a week after the surgery as the healing process began. His hospital room is filled with balloons and stuffed animals and manned 24 hours every day by volunteers from Smile Rescue Fund for Kids, the charity group, which paid for his travel to the hospital.
Sibomana has been living with an American family, who were all by his side at the time he woke up.
Donations from different sources have been pouring into the SmileRescueFund.org to allow Sibomana to attend boarding school back in Africa, which costs less than $700 a year, said charity founder Leon Klempner, a retired Stony Brook dentist.
Sibomana won’t be allowed to play outside until another week at least, according to Dagum.