Surgeons Remodel Baby's 'Football-Shaped' Skull

Matthew Hodgson seemed perfect when he was born, but his parents knew there was a problem.

Matthew, of Springfield, Mo., was born with craniosynostosis, a birth defect of the brain that is characterized by the premature closure of one or more fibrous joints between the bones of the skull before brain growth is complete, KY3-TV reported.

“He had a little bump on the back of his head,” said Kerry Hudson, Matthew’s father. “We just knew his head wasn't right. We didn't know what problems he could have from it."

Essentially, Matthew’s skull was growing into the shape of a football, Dr. Sami Khoshyomn, a pediatric surgeon told the TV station. The baby’s ‘soft spot,’ an area that is normally open to the skull, was fused over with bone. As Matthew’s brain grew, it forced his skull to grow abnormally.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, patients with the defect can have increased intracranial pressure, developmental delays, or mental retardation, which are caused by constriction of the growing brain. Seizures and blindness may also occur.

Last Thursday, about 25 surgeons at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Mo., remodeled and reshaped the skull, allowing for normal bone growth.

It was a surgery that is normally done at major medical centers in much bigger cities.

While Khoshyomn removed the abnormal strip of skull and protected the brain, another surgeon remodeled and reshaped the skull.

Once the fused bone was removed, doctors tailored absorbable strips that will hold the skull in place until it can grow together.

No twisting or turning of screws was necessary as doctors used an ultrasonic wand, which relieved any stress there might have been on the skull.

Matthew will wear a helmet for three to six months, but in nine months, his skull will have a whole new bone – and no one will know he once had a problem.

Click here to read the full story from KY3-TV.