Baby recovers from rare tumour in her jaw at Mumbai hospital

Updated: Jan 08, 2015, 13:28 IST | Sadaguru Pandit |

She had developed an abnormal swelling in her lower jaw, which was eventually diagnosed as Melanotic Neuroectodermal Tumour of Infancy (MNTI); doctors at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, treated her successfully

For the worried parents of eight-month-old Purvam Mhatre, Monday was full of relief and happiness. For it was the day when doctors at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, declared her out of danger, four months after she was operated for a rare form of tumour.

Eight-month-old Purvam Mhatre
All’s well! Eight-month-old Purvam Mhatre recovered successfully after doctors operated on her tumour

The baby, who had developed a 1.5-inch lesion, termed as Melanotic Neuroectodermal Tumour of Infancy, (MNTI) in her lower jaw, was operated in July and successfully underwent a three-month recovery period, and was also supervised later by the doctors. After months of frequent hospital visits, Santosh and Vidya Mhatre, Purvam’s parents, are celebrating the well-being of their daughter.

The team of doctors who operated on Purvam say that considering the rare ailment, her tender age, probable complications and successful recovery, this is an experience that they will cherish for a long time. They say that the tumour, which was benign, will not return.

The problem
Only two months after her birth in February, a swelling in Purvam’s lower jaw started to rise rapidly, and local doctors at Mahad, where the Mhatres hail from, failed to diagnose it. “We initially thought she was teething, but as her lower gums started swelling abnormally and there was no sign of teeth, we approached a local child specialist,” said Santosh, who works as quality control executive at MIDC. The specialist referred them to Dr Sabh Singh Khambay, a facio-maxillary and oral surgeon at Fortis, Mulund.

“There was rapid growth of a smooth, firm mass involving the alveolar ridge of the lower jaw. We conducted a CT scan and sent the tissues of the lesion for histopathology. The diagnosis then confirmed that the child suffered from an encapsulated tumour particularly termed as Melanotic Neuroectodermal Tumour of Infancy (MNTI), which was approximately 1.5 inches in her lower jaw,” said the doctor.

Dr Khambay and Dr Sanjay Bhatia, an ENT surgeon, performed the surgery when the child was five months old. “The challenge started right from giving anaesthesia. Considering her age, we had to opt for a nasal endotracheal tube for giving her the sedatives,” said Bhatia.

After the surgery, there was a high risk of complications. However, careful follow-ups ensured a speedy recovery . “Post-operative recovery was impressive. In the first three days, the baby was fed by the Ryles (nasogastric) tube. Subsequently, she was breast-fed. On Monday, we observed that she is keeping absolutely well,” added Dr Bhatia.

The condition
MNTI is a relatively uncommon tumour that primarily affects the jaws of newborn infants under one year of age. There have been 250 cases of MNTI reported in world literature – 19 have been reported involving the maxilla (upper jaw) and two cases in the mandible (lower jaw) in India.

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