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Cranial Reconstruction 101

Just got back from the meeting with the plastic surgeon and neurosurgeon, and even though Leo felt like he should bury his head in my sweater, Justin and I felt like we could finally unbury ours.

Between the exclamations of wonder regarding Leo's fantastical progress and new skull shape, we learned some more information about this new surgery that helped alleviate some anxiety. The best news was that is seems that they won't have to fiddle with his shunt after all. That cuts the intensity and variables of the procedure in half. They won't have to remove his tubing, or externalize it like this past summer. What a relief!
The plan is to open his old incision, but leave some tissue covering his shunt, which is located right behind his frontal skull bone on his right. Then they will disconnect and remove the two skull bones of the forehead and the bone that makes the brow ridge and reshape them by cutting little pleats and bending the bone to make the new shape that they want. Then they will just pop everything back in and fasten it all up with dissolvable screws and Bob's your uncle!

Yeah, well obviously there is more to it, but I get a kick out of how everyday they make all this sound instead of the crazy sci-fi it really is!

Our expressions must have been amusing (pasty skin, white around the eyes, trembling hands..)  because after chuckling they compared Leo's previous surgery to being a Cranial Reconstruct 1,000, while this one will be merely a Cranial Reconstruct 101. This is a "typical" surgery they do very often for kiddos with craniosynistosis. Since it is only 3-4hrs long, the blood loss is expected to be pretty minimal this time, and kids who go in on a Wednesday for this surgery, are usually home by the weekend.



So while Leo swatted their hands away from touching his head and tried to hide his head under my shirt, Justin and I let out an anxiety and trauma filled breath and began to feel even a little bit excited about Leo's future look!

But it isn't all about looks. The other day I had a run in with a cranky mare at the barn, and after viewing my almost shiner in the mirror the next day, I realized that had it been Leo, he would have damaged his eye pretty severely. As it was, the protecting bone around my eye got the brunt of it. Leo is showing all the signs of growing into an unruly and rascally little boy and will need all the protection he can get.  Eyes are essential.

And his eyes?

They would like to do the surgery sooner then later, so we are looking at the next 4 weeks in which to schedule it. First there will be an appointment for a quick-brain MRI and some blood work a week or so before the actual surgery. If they don't call this week, I will plan on hounding them next week until an actual, physical date is set. And then the trick will be to keep him and us healthy. It might take drastic measures. Like hiding at home for the next month. But until then, we will just limit our trips to essential places, like church!

Our little church mice this past Sunday.


  1. Breathing a sigh of relief with you!! Sounds like a piece of cake! ;) He will do awesome. The picture in church is precious.

  2. Glorious photo of them in Church !
    Prayers for you all for the upcoming surgery......

  3. alleluia!!! which one wise man told me is translated as "God is here!"

  4. What a beautiful picture :-) I love your blog, and I've been keeping you all in my prayers.

  5. This is such good news. Had to grin @ imagining Leo swatting their hands away. "hey man why don't you touch your own skull?". Prayers

  6. I love this picture!!! Keep us posted...


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