Sunday, July 5, 2015

What the Surgery Involves

Cranioplasty is as a surgery done to improve the symmetry and shape the head. It involves the neurosurgery repair of irregularity or imperfection in the skull. The major purpose of cranioplastic surgery is to provide protection for the brain. Since cranioplasty is a surgery of the brain which is the most sensitive part of human organs, it is a complicated procedure. It requires a surgeon who is highly  professional, skilled and experienced. The surgery involves the use of a bone graft to repair a gap or defect in the vault of the skull. The graft is done using bone from the pelvis, ribs, or part of an adjacent skull, even suitable synthetic materials such as silastic or tantalum can be used.

What are the causes of abnormalities of the skull?

There are several conditions which can lead to abnormalities in skull structure, such as
  •  premature close of the cranial sutures
  •  Incapability of the skull to expand as the brain grows.
  •  Some hereditary conditions that can cause children to be born with skull irregularities.
  •  Persistent damage to the skull as a result of trauma.
  •  A hole in the head.
  •  The defect in some places that leaves the brain exposed that could cause severe damage

  • How is Cranioplasty performed?

     Cranioplasty is a procedure that takes approximately to replace a portion of the skull with either original bone tissue or plastic implants.
  •  The patient is given general anesthetic and is positioned with the bone defect uppermost.
  •  The area of incision is shaved and prepared with antiseptic.
  •  The patient is covered in drape in such a way only the incision can be viewed.
  •  Local anesthetic is injected and then the area is cut.
  •  The scalp is cut apart from the ‘dura’, the underlying covering of the brain, and the edges of the surrounding bone are cleaned to let the graft to stick.
  •  The surgeon will decide on the source of the graft. The iliac bone bounding the pelvis, ribs and even a part of adjacent skull bone can be used.
  •  It is also possible to fix a gap in the skull by using synthetic material. Materials such as tantalum, silastic, titanium plate, rib graft, prefabricated acrylic, synthetic bone substitute, and other similar material manufactured for the fast use of implantation into the body can also be used.
  •  The original bone or a replacement that is kept ready is placed in the defect area and secured with screws, plates or with special discs.
  •  If the graft is not available, the patient is treated from the chosen material.
  •  This is shaped to fit.
  •  This is also fixed to the surrounding area.
  •  Once plated everything is repositioned.
  •  The skin is then closed either with nylon suture or with special staples.

What is the recovery time?

  •  It is essential for the patient to be in hospital.
  •  The ease of the operation relies on the cause of the bone defect.
  •  If the underlying covering of the brain, the dura mater, is unbroken and healthy, the operation is straightforward and uncomplicated.
  •  The patient is discharged about 5-7 days.
  •  The sutures are removed 5-10 days after.

Vacation at Old Orchard Beach

We spent last week at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. This is one of Sarah's favorite places and what she describes as her happy place. We spent some nice family time together which was a happy distraction from her surgery. Sarah enjoyed riding the waves on her boogie board, making castles in the sand, and riding the amusement rides downtown. She had the chance to just be a kid with no restrictions cartwheeling in the sand. Bill and I enjoyed watching her! She and Jason had loads of laughs throughout the week including burying each other in the sand.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Why Another Surgery?

Sarah's upcoming surgery is to repair two "holes" located on each side of her skull. This is a picture of her CAT Scan which helps to identify what needs to be repaired. This surgery is necessary because without it there is no skull covering that portion of her brain. Her surgeons will harvest bone from the back of her skull to place over these "holes". Heading this surgery will again be what we call our "Dream Team" comprised of Plastic/Cranial Facial Surgeon, Dr. John Meara and Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Proctor. I cannot say more about these fine doctors and their staff.

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Hat

Sarah helped pick out a few new hats to keep her head safe from the sun and show a little style. This one arrived in the mail today. This smiling girl is getting back to herself.