Baby Was Rushed into Surgery Because of His Head Shape
When babies are born, their skull is not one solid piece of bone. Instead, it is several thin plates that can move slightly around the brain. As a child matures, these bone plates eventually fuse into place. This might sound weird, but the whole process is necessary for health. If something goes wrong with the bone fusing process, a child can develop brain issues. One family learned this the hard way after their baby started to develop an odd head shape.
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The Boler family all had large, round heads, so they were a little surprised when their youngest son, Matthew, started to develop a long head shape. Megan Boler explained that the family just thought “maybe he has an unusual shaped head. We didn’t think about any of the ramifications.” However, at his two month check up with a pediatrician, the doctor realized that Matthew’s head shape might be serious.
Normally, babies have a soft spot on the back of their heads where the skull joints are not fused. Parents have to be careful to protect this spot until the skull develops fully. Though this might seem dangerous, it is completely normal. The unformed skull gives the brain room to grow. Therefore, Matthew’s doctor was concerned when they could not find a soft spot on his head.
The doctors became concerned that Matthew might have craniosynostosis. This is a developmental condition that happens when the skull fuses too soon. Without any room to grow, a lot of pressure is placed on the brain. If left untreated, craniosynostosis can cause seizures, blindness, deformities, speech problems, and even brain damage.
Matthew was taken to the hospital, and tests confirmed his pediatrician’s worries. His skull was so long and narrow because it was being pushed up by the brain. Without anywhere to grow, the brain was deforming the skull. Though it was not obvious yet, this intracranial pressure could eventually have harmed Matthew’s development.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to un-fuse these misformed joints. The only treatment for craniosynostosis is surgery. During the surgery, thin cuts remove the prematurely joined areas of the skull. Fortunately, Matthew was still young enough for this surgery to work well. The skull of a two month old is very thin. Therefore, they only needed to do very small cuts along his head. This would give Matthew’s brain enough space to grow.
Matthew was rushed into surgery, and then the family had to wait. At first, his head was very swollen and the doctors were concerned. However, after 10 hours, the swelling went down. Just 72 hours after the surgery, Matthew was already able to go home. To protect his brain while the skull bone grew correctly, he had to wear a special helmet. Despite all these medical issues, Matthew maintained his happy, goofy personality.
It was originally assumed that Matthew would have to wear his special helmet 24 hours a day for a year. He recovered and grew so well though that this was not necessary. After four months, the doctors said it was safe to remove the helmet. His skull was now able to protect his head without confining his developing brain.
It has been a year since Matthew was diagnosed with craniosynostosis and had surgery. Since it was diagnosed so early, he does not have any problems. This lucky little boy does not have brain issues or a permanent deformation. Instead, he looks and acts completely healthy and normal. One year old Matthew now has a round skull just like everyone else in his family.
Matthew’s mother has been sharing her story as much as she can. She hopes to raise awareness so other families can also be so lucky. If caught early, it is easy to treat this condition.Therefore, anyone who notices that their child’s head shape looks strange should contact their doctor. Early diagnosis of craniosynostosis can change a child’s life for the better.