Indian boy whose head hung at 180-degree angle has life-changing surgery

1 min

A 13-year-old boy who was left an outcast in his village in India because his head hung upside down has risked life changing surgery to straighten his neck.

Mahendra Ahirwar suffers from a rare condition called congenital myopathy which has made his muscles in his neck so weak his head would hang at a 180-degree angle.
His parents Mukesh Ahirwar, 41, and mother Sumitra Ahirwar, 36, spent years taking him to see doctors but no one could help.

But now the teenager has undergone life-changing surgery by a former NHS surgeon after a mother-of-two from Liverpool set up a crowd-funding page raising £12,000 for treatment.
Spinal surgeon Dr Rajagopalan Krishnan, from Apollo Hospital, in Delhi, performed the operation after Julie Jones made it possible.
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His incredible story will be shown on Channel 5 Extraordinary People series.

The documentary follows the family as they travel thousands of miles on an over night train from their village to India’s capital city for the risky surgery that could kill Mahendra.

In a first of its kind operation Dr Krishnan, who worked for the NHS for 15 years before returning to India to help extreme medical cases, operate on Mahendra’s spine.

Dr Krishnan and his team open up the front part of his neck – leaving the front of his cervical spine completely exposed – because of his extraordinarily thin skin.

The film follows the family and Mahendra in surgery as he endures a ten hour operation.
They remove the disks from his neck, and replace them with bone graft from his pelvis and then fit a metal plate to secure the neck straight.

Two years ago his parents stopped taking him to see doctors altogether as it seemed no-one could help.
But with life a constant struggle, and Mahdendra in constant pain, they even admitted they would rather their son died than continue to suffer.

As soon as Mahendra used to wake up in the morning he relied on his mother to feed him, bath him and dress him.
While his sister Manisha and little brother Surendra, eight, went to school and his older brother Lalit tried to find work he was left at home.

Even his friends used to leave him watch them play, he could never join in.

It was after reading his tragic plight that mother-of-two Ms Jones decided she wanted to help.

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