This Infant’s Unusual Head Revealed A Seriously Dangerous Condition
Megan Boler’s son, Matthew, started developing an unusually narrow and oblong shaped head when he was just two months old. Round large heads ran in her family so she didn’t really think much of it.
“We definitely thought it looked a little unusual. We thought maybe he has an unusual-shaped head,” Boler told ABC News. “We didn’t think about any of the ramifications.”
It was her son’s pediatrician that refused to ignore it. Right on his second month check-up, Boler’s doctor said that the soft spot on Matthew’s head was nowhere to be found and that there may be a chance that Matthew could have a condition called craniosynostosis. It occurs when the joints between a baby’s skull close prematurely before the brain has fully formed. Imagine, having your baby’s skull fully close up without the brain ever having to get bigger!
“Don’t take this lightly. I want to refer you to the neurosurgeons at Texas Children’s Hospital,” Boler recalled the pediatrician telling her.
Without question, she took her son to the hospital and doctors diagnosed him with a type of craniosynostosis called sagittal synostosis. Little Matthew’s skull had fused on the back of his head too early leaving his brain nowhere to grow. This is what gave him his unusual shape.
“His brain was growing underneath but the skull doesn’t allow for it because of the way it’s fused,” said Dr. Sandi Lam, Director of Craniofacial Surgery Program at Texas Children’s Hospital. “There’s no medicine that will unfuse the bone, the treatment is surgery and basically we have to cut out the bad bone.”
It was because of Matthew’s young age that made it easier to operate on because doctors could do the surgery with smaller cuts and his brain could help reform his skull post-surgery.”The skull is very, very thin, we’re able to use different types of instruments and use an endoscope to see everything,” Lam said. “Because of all of this growth that is happening, the brain really helps make the baby’s new head shape. It rounds everything out from inside out and helps guide how everything heals up.”
It only took 72 hours for Matthew’s operation. He was given a special helmet to wear for almost 24 hours a day for 3-12 months.
“In a 10-hour period the swelling went down and ever since then he hasn’t looked back,” said Boler, who admitted that the 72 hours after surgery “was definitely challenging.”
Now that he is a happy 1-year-old, his head looks completely normal and there is nothing wrong with his skull!
If Matthew’s pediatrician didn’t catch this unusuality, it could have lead to high pressure in the brain, caused developmental delays, and even death.