Surgeons perform first-ever procedure on triplets with rare skull condition

Health 01 May 2017
Surgeons perform first-ever procedure on triplets with rare skull condition

Proud American

Surgeons perform first-ever procedure on triplets with rare skull condition

  • Hunter, Jackson and Kaden were diagnosed with variations of Craniosynostosis (Amy Howard)

  • Hunter is pictured before undergoing the corrective procedure

    Hunter is pictured before undergoing the corrective procedure (Stony Brook Medicine)

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A New York couple who was shocked to learn they were having triplet boys spent the first few weeks of their children’s lives in the neonatal intensive care unit learning about their rare skull condition, Craniosynostosis. And just nine weeks after their babies’ birth, first-time parents Amy and Michael Howard watched their three boys undergo corrective head surgery.

Craniosynostosis, a congential premature fusion of one or more sutures on a baby’s skull that threatens vision and brain growth. Craniosynostosis occurs in 1 in 2,500 births, meaning a diagnosis in all three babies was incredibly rare.

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“Jackson, Hunter and Kaden all had endoscopic surgery, which typically takes between 90 and 180 minutes, and has an average hospital stay of one night,” Dr. David Chelser, the boys’ pediatric neurosurgeon at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, said in a news release.

The surgery is believed to be the first-ever performed on triplets and involves releasing the prematurely closed suture via two small incisions. For Hunter and Jackson, who are identical, the procedure corrected their Sagittal Synostosis, which is the most common form of Craniosynostosis. Their fraternal sibling, Kaden, underwent the procedure to address his Metopic Synostosis, which can result in a triangular-shaped forehead.

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“This procedure has comparable results to traditional open-skull surgery, but open surgery can take from two to six hours and require around five days in the hospital,” Chelser said. “In addition, there is rarely a need for blood transfusions with endoscopic surgery, unlike open-skull, so the risk of blood loss and complications are dramatically lowered.”

As part of their recovery, the boys were given custom-fit helmets they will need to wear 23 hours out of every day. The helmets are meant to help guide and mold the shape of their skulls as they grow. Three months post-surgery, the Howards said their 5-month-old boys are hitting all developmental milestones.

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