Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal underwent a corrective throat surgery in Bengaluru on Wednesday to fix a persistent cough that has troubled him for most part of his adult life.
Kejriwal’s chronic coughing and the ubiquitous muffler to protect his throat from the cold and smoggy winter air had become a frequent theme on social media, leading to endless memes and conjecture on what was ailing Delhi’s articulate and vocal chief minister.
The surgery, which was done at Narayana Health City in Bengaluru , corrected an anatomical abnormality in Kejriwal’s oropharynx -- the middle part of the throat including the base of the tongue, tonsils and the walls of the pharynx – that led to small amounts of saliva trickling into his airways whenever he developed nasal allergy or infection.
Dr Devi Shetty, the founder chairman of Narayana Health, refused to say anything beyond: “The chief minister will comment on the surgery when he is ready.”
Another doctor who is part of the team treating 48-year-old Kejriwal said the “aim of the surgery was functional restoration rather than treating a disease”.
Hospital sources say the initial diagnosis was based on the pattern of Kejriwal’s bouts of coughing and extensive imaging. The diagnosis was confirmed after detailed computer analytics of cephalometrics (measuring dental and skeletal bones in the head), modelling simulation, dynamic MRI and video fluroscopy (swallowing exam).
“He coughed because his enlarged soft palate and uvula (fleshy hanging extension at the back of the soft palate) and a slightly larger tongue caused kinematic problems and made it difficult for his tongue to move freely in the restricted space,” said the doctor.
“It involved the correction of a septal spur and the repositioning the base of his tongue.”
Dr Suhel Hasan, head of otolaryngology and Dr Paul C Salins, medical director of Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre, performed the surgery with assistance of surgeons from Narayana Health City’s department of craniofacial surgery.
Sources said Kejriwal had a few sips of water after the surgery and spoke to his family. He is well and is expected to fully recover in a couple of days.