Dominic was born with a condition called unilateral coronal synostosis. I could get all technical about describing it, but basically, when babies are born, they have 3 separate plates that make up their skull. These plates are not connected until a child reaches age 3 or so to allow the brain to grow which also shapes the head. Dominic was born with 2 of those plates already connected and since the brain grows at a rapid rate during the first few years, it was affecting the shape of his forehead & face. Dom’s mom and I noticed that he had a flat spot on his forehead early on and had it checked out. After seeing a few doctor’s, we were told to see Dr. Kim Manwaring at Phoenix Children’s Hospital to determine if there was anything wrong. Dr. Manwaring confirmed that Dominic had unilateral coronal synostosis after reviewing the initial CT scans.
A few weeks later, Dominic was scheduled for surgery to separate the plates in his head and to advance his forehead out of the recessed position it was in on the right side. Dominic did surprisingly well during and after the surgery, but it was still a little nerv-wracking for his Mom and I. They had advanced his forehead on the right side about 17mm after separating the plates, and his brain, within a few hours, completely relaxed and filled out the gap left between his skull and brain after the surgery. The doctor’s told us that Dominic’s physical growth would be slightly behind kids his same age because of the time it was going to take for his body to focus on healing instead of growing, and yes, he’s still a peanut…but he’s getting taller and he’s EXTREMELY smart! It’s almost as if his brain development kicked in to high gear when his body slowed down a little.
The doctor’s also told us that there was a 25% chance that Dominic would have to go through this surgery again for aesthetic reasons around the age of 5-6. Over the past 6 months or so, we’ve had appointments with the craniofacial surgeon as well as the neurosurgeon to determine what the next step might be since kids are kids and a few have noticed that Dom’s head isn’t necessarily shaped like theirs and they some times poke fun at him about it. Dominic doesn’t know any different, so it hasn’t really affected him, but if it continues, it is sure to have longer term affects on him as far as his self esteem and self confidence.
Within the past 2 weeks, we finally got a CT scan of Dom’s head, and upon recommendation of both the neurosurgeon and the craniofacial surgeon, they both are suggesting we go through a full surgery again to advance his forehead for increased symmetry. We originally had 2 options, a cosmetic surgery, or the more invasive surgery, but after seeing the CT scan, both doctor’s noticed that Dominic’s brain looked a little “cramped”. They also asked if he was having reoccurring headaches – which he has – so going with the more invasive surgery to advance the forehead should correct that.
The surgery is scheduled for 10am tomorrow morning (Saturday, July 18th) at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Dom’s Mom and big sister have done a great job talking to him about the surgery all this week and getting him mentally ready for it – he’s ready to “kick surgery’s butt!” – his sister encouraged him to kick it’s butt! hahaha I’m still a little bit of a wreck, but the surgeons do so many of these procedures, its become a pretty “standard” procedure for them. We’ll be at the hospital until Tue/Wed, but being there isn’t like being at a hospital at all – Dom loves all the “fun stuff” they have there.