Microcephalus is a neurological defect in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than normal. It is a very rare condition affecting one in approximately 40,000 births. The condition can be either hereditary or could develop due to a chromosomal anomaly, congenital infections, and lack of oxygen early in life. It can also be the result if a mother uses drugs during pregnancy, had been exposed to certain chemicals or radiation, or if the infant is severely malnourished.
Children with microcephaly require the skills of a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals to address the complications of their condition. Depending on the result of the medical assessment, a patient can undergo surgery to correct the abnormal head shape and size, create enough room for the brain to grow normally, and prevent pressure on the brain.
Such a procedure, which can be performed using traditional open surgery or minimally invasive techniques, can be taken advantage of at various globally-recognised hospitals in Southeast Asian countries including Singapore and Thailand. These countries are well-known medical tourism destinations as they have succeeded in combining state-of-the-art technologies and advanced medical facilities with the finest medical talents and surgical skills. Both countries have many Joint Commission International (JCI) and International Standards Organisation (ISO) accredited hospitals that feature the same modern surgical equipment and medical facilities found in Western countries. Most of their doctors, surgeons, and specialists are educated, trained, or even practiced in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, among others.
Southeast Asia is also one of the best destinations where one can easily access world-class early childhood intervention programmes that can help children with microcephaly strengthen their abilities. These programmes include speech, physical, and occupational therapies designed to help patients live as normally as possible.