An infant in the U.K. will have her skull removed and reshaped to correct a rare condition, The Plymouth Herald reported.
Ten-month-old Michaela Chalkley was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, a rare condition that causes babies to develop an abnormally shaped head. Four days after her first birthday, surgeons at Bristol Children’s Hospital in the U.K. will perform a four to six hour surgery on the right side of her skull, where the plates have closed over and stopped growing. Michaela now only has half a forehead.
“They will cut from ear to ear and will remove part of her skull to reshape it and then put it back,” her mother, Sam Chalkley said. “The biggest risk in a child her age is bleeding. There’s a 90 percent chance she will need a blood transfusion during or after the operation.”
After the surgery, Michaela’s head and face will be swollen for up to three weeks, according to The Herald.
When Michaela was born, her mother noticed she didn’t have an eyebrow on her right side. At eight weeks, Michaela couldn’t hold her head up. When her daughter was 4 months old, she was officially diagnosed and told the only treatment was surgery.
“It was a relief in a way because they would get the ball rolling to do an operation to get the problem sorted,” Sam said. “She already has a hearing problem which we’re hoping will be rectified by the operation, but the condition can lead to developmental issues and cause eyesight problems and headaches”
For Sam, raising awareness of early diagnosis of the condition is key for babies to get help before the problem becomes too difficult to fix. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates craniosynostosis affects about 4 in 10,000 live births.
Sam is working with fundraising group Lucy’s Head Start to raise awareness of and funds for children with the condition.