Boy, 5, With Rare Facial Deformity Can Finally Eat Steak

A Minnesota boy, born with a rare facial deformity, can now eat steak and speak clearly after undergoing surgery in May.

Kaden Reierson, 5, was treated at the Medical City Dallas International Craniofacial Institute in Texas to correct a genetic condition known as cherubism, the Bemidji Pioneer newspaper reported.

The disorder is characterized by abnormal bone tissue in the lower part of the face. It’s called cherubism because the lower and upper jaws become enlarged as bone is replaced with painless cysts or tumors. As a result, these growths give the cheeks a swollen, rounded appearance and often interfere with normal tooth development, according to the National Institutes of Health.

While most people with this condition have few, or any, symptoms – some cases are severe enough to cause problems with vision, breathing, speech and swallowing, the NIH said on its Web site.

In Kaden’s case, the trouble started when he was 15-months-old when his mother noticed that the roof of his mouth was arched in a sharp peak. Everything progressed from there, and the fibrous growths soon made it hard for Kaden to close his mouth, the newspaper reported.

Without the surgery, life would have been much different for Kaden. The cysts would have continued to grow until he would be unable to eat or breathe, according to the report.

As for his parents, they couldn’t be happier with the results.

“Better than ever expected,” Melissa Reierson told the newspaper.

“The other thing that’s so great is he’s breathing through his nose now,” Kaden’s father, Chad said. “It was pretty much apnea when he was sleeping.”

Kaden is expected to enter kindergarten next month.

Click here to read more from the Bemidji Pioneer newspaper.