Monday, February 23, 2009

first trip to the doctor

This morning we had our first appointment with Dr. Mace, the brain surgeon, followed by our first pediatrician appointment with Dr. McNeal. The surgeon did a great job of answering our questions about Ben's surgery. Last week, the pediatricians discussed Ben's irregular head shape with us, and ordered a CT scan. During the scan, they found prematurely fused bone plates in his skull and asked we immediately schedule an appointment with a pediatric neurosurgeon. This morning we met with Dr. Mace at the Springfield Neurological and Spine Institute and he shared with us a 3D image of Ben's skull and the images from the CT scan taken last week. The top ridge down Ben's skull has prematurely fused together, causing his head to be narrow and elongated. This is called craniosynostosis. When Ben's three months old (in May), he will need surgery to correct this. There are a few different methods, but the suggested method by Dr. Mace is to make a single incision across the top of his skull and remove a section of the bone. After, Ben should require no future surgery and his head and brain should develop normally. He will most likely not need a helmet, and we will need to treat the top of his head like an extra large soft spot until it heals. He will have to stay at the hospital for several days and he has to be put completely under for the surgery. Josh or I will also donate blood prior to the surgery, so if he needs a transfusion, it will be from one of us.

It is so scary to think about Ben having brain surgery, but the surgeon seems wonderful and our pediatrician has had several children with the same condition use Dr. Mace for the same procedure. Long-term, Ben may always have a little bit differently shaped head, but it shouldn't be very noticeable within a few years, and he shouldn't have any brain development problems associated with this condition.

At his pediatrician appointment today, he weighs 6 lbs 14 oz. The doctor was concerned about his color, so we had to go back to Cox South to have his blood taken. By that time, we were all pretty exhausted and my incision was killing me from all of the walking. Later that afternoon we found out his jaundice test came back negative and he's as perfect as ever.

I've included a few pictures from our first day out of the house.

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