Baby has life-saving op to break open skull and piece back together

Baby has life-saving op to break open skull and piece back together

Kathleen Torres, 29, from Grafton, Ohio, noticed the unusual shape of her son Caleb’s head after he was born, but dismissed it as bruising from the delivery.

The mom-of-four saw that the back of his skull was elongated and rectangular, while his forehead was pointed – just like a pizza slice.

Nine-month-old Caleb Torres, from Grafton, Ohio, was born with an unusual shape head which doctors later confirmed was craniosynostosis

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Nine-month-old Caleb Torres, from Grafton, Ohio, was born with an unusual shape head which doctors later confirmed was craniosynostosis

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Nine-month-old Caleb Torres, from Grafton, Ohio, was born with an unusual shape head which doctors later confirmed was craniosynostosis

Doctors revealed he needed life-saving surgery to reshape his head or risk permanent brain damage (a CT scan showing the shape of Caleb's skull before surgery)
Doctors revealed he needed life-saving surgery to reshape his head or risk permanent brain damage (a CT scan showing the shape of Caleb's skull before surgery)
 

Doctors revealed he needed life-saving surgery to reshape his head or risk permanent brain damage (a CT scan showing the shape of Caleb’s skull before surgery)

The condition caused bones in Caleb's skull to fuse together before his brain had chance to fully grow

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The condition caused bones in Caleb’s skull to fuse together before his brain had chance to fully grow

 

She hoped his unusually shaped head would even out over time, but decided to take him for tests after another mom told Kathleen that her son was suffering with the same kind of symptoms.

At four months old, Caleb was diagnosed with craniosynostosis – a condition where the bones in the skull fuse prematurely before the baby’s brain has had chance to fully grow.

Doctors feared that if they didn’t perform surgery to reshape her son’s head he could be left with permanent brain damage.

Three months ago, neurosurgeons operated on Caleb, where they cracked open his skull, shaved away part of the bone and pieced it back together again just like a jigsaw puzzle.

Now, apart from an s-shaped scar across the top of his head, Caleb, who is nine-months-old, has made a full recovery and it’s believed he will not need any more surgery.

For his skull to grow correctly, surgeons needed to make a cut along his head, break his skull down, shave away part of the bone and then put it back together again - like a jigsaw puzzle (Caleb pictured during recovery)

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For his skull to grow correctly, surgeons needed to make a cut along his head, break his skull down, shave away part of the bone and then put it back together again – like a jigsaw puzzle (Caleb pictured during recovery)

Caleb went from having a pizza slice shaped head to having a normal shaped head after surgery where his skull was broken apart and pieced back together like a jigsaw puzzle

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Caleb went from having a pizza slice shaped head to having a normal shaped head after surgery where his skull was broken apart and pieced back together like a jigsaw puzzle

Here is Caleb in hospital recovering from his surgery to break open his skull and piece it back together like a jigsaw puzzle. He has the condition craniosynostosis where the bones in the skull fused prematurely

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Here is Caleb in hospital recovering from his surgery to break open his skull and piece it back together like a jigsaw puzzle. He has the condition craniosynostosis where the bones in the skull fused prematurely

Caleb went from having a pizza slice shaped head to having a normal shaped head after surgery where his skull was broken apart and pieced back together. The scar is like a continuous s-shape

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Caleb went from having a pizza slice shaped head to having a normal shaped head after surgery where his skull was broken apart and pieced back together. The scar is like a continuous s-shape

WHAT IS CRANIOSYNOSTOSIS? 

Craniosynostosis is a rare skull problem that causes a baby to be born with, or develop, an abnormally shaped head.

It is rare, affecting an estimated one in every 1,800 to 3,000 children. Three out of every four cases affect boys.

The irregular skull shape in craniosynostosis can cause persistent headaches, learning difficulties, eye problems and other symptoms.

Craniosynostosis is the result of the premature fusion of different sections of the skull.

This means the skull is unable to grow in affected areas.

When one area of the skull is prevented from growing, other areas may ‘overgrow’ to compensate and limit the pressure developing around the brain.

A lack of growth in some areas and compensatory growth in other areas will result in an altered head shape.

Kathleen, a full-time mom, said: ‘It was concerning at first, his head was shaped differently to a lot of other babies, at first we just thought it bruising from the delivery and it would round itself out on its own.

‘It looked like a slice of pizza because his head was more rectangular at the back and it came to a point at the front.

‘Instead of being rounded at the back it was long and knobbly, we used to call him ‘our Phineas baby’, the name of his favorite cartoon character who had a pizza shaped head too.

‘We kept waiting for it to round itself out, but it never did.

‘Then I went to a night out for home-schooling moms and there was a lady whose baby’s head looked just like my son’s.

‘When I spoke to her about it, she asked me if we had a diagnosis yet and I was puzzled.

‘She began to explain about craniosynostosis and that my son would most likely need surgery to break the skull apart and fix it again. 

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