The story appears on

Page A5

August 15, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Metro » Health and Science

Surgeons cure toddler with deformed head

SHANGHAI surgeons have repaired the skull of a toddler who was born with a rare deformity in a procedure they described as akin to assembling a jigsaw puzzle.

The 18-month-old boy had a head "resembling an onion," surgeons said, adding that they believed the operation was a world first.

Huang Xingyu, from Jiangsu Province, was discharged from the center yesterday after recovering from the five-hour operation performed last Monday.

Huang suffered from craniosynostosis, a condition that causes one or more of the natural gaps, or sutures, on a baby's head to close earlier than normal.

The early closures lead to an abnormally shaped head, severe intracranial pressure, seizures, possible developmental disorders and even death if not treated in time.

Its incidence in China is as rare as one in 10,000 newborn babies.

"But Huang's case was much more unusual as all his sutures fused prematurely, while most patients only have one closed suture," said Xia Lin, a center official.

"His condition was getting more and more risky under increasing intracranial pressure."

Surgeons separated the fused gaps and reshaped the skull by leaving proper sutures between the bones of the brain to allow for further growth.

"It was a risky surgery, as any injury to his brain tissue could have impacted on his intelligence," said Dr Bao Nan, the chief surgeon.

"Since there had been no similar case reported either at home or broad, we had to rectify any problems that arose during the actual procedure.

"We found some of his brain tissues had already grown out of the fragile skull bones, which can prove fatal," Bao said.

Babies are normally born with dozens of sutures to provide space for brain and skull growth.

These sutures generally close within about 20 months of delivery.

With limited space caused by the fused sutures, Huang's brain tissue had to grow toward the thinnest part of the skull, resulting his head being onion-shaped, doctors said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend