Science & Tech

Doctors reattach boy's head after suffering 'internal decapitation'

Doctors reattach boy's head after suffering 'internal decapitation'
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Doctors have performed a minor miracle after re-attaching a “'decapitated” boy’s head after he was hit by a car.

The miraculous surgery occurred after Suleiman Hassan, a Palestinian boy from the West Bank, was severely injured after being hit by a car while out riding his bike.

He was airlifted to Hadassah Ein Kerem’s Trauma Unit in Jerusalem and went straight to surgery.

He suffered what is known as an internal decapitation – this occurs when the base of the skull and top of the spine become detached by the skin remains intact.

This extremely rare injury can occur when a strong, sudden impact on the head results in the muscles and ligaments that hold the head in place to sever, accounting for less than one per cent of spinal injuries.

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Doctors explained that Hassan’s head was “'almost completely detached from the base of his neck” before he underwent painstaking surgery taking several hours.

The procedure involves reattaching the skull and spinal column using technology such as screws, rods, plates and bone grafts.

One of the surgeons who operated on Hassan, Dr Ohad Einav, told The Times of Isreal: “We fought for the boy’s life.”

Dr Einav continued: “The procedure itself is very complicated and took several hours. While in the operating room, we used new plates and fixations in the damaged area…

“Our ability to save the child was thanks to our knowledge and the most innovative technology in the operating room.”

Surgeries such as the one that saved Hassan’s life are only possible if internal decapitation victims have their major blood vessels intact, keeping the brain alive.

Hassan’s surgery took place in June but has only recently been made public as the boy continues to recover at home with rehabilitation. Miraculously, Hassan can walk unaided and has no neurological problems following the shocking injury.

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