Imagine taking your perfect newborn to the pediatrician for a regularly scheduled check up and finding out that he or she has a congenital defect (disorder present at birth) and needs reconstructive plastic surgery. That’s how Kelly felt when her daughter Madeline was diagnosed with craniosynostosis. Little Madeline’s parents did not even notice that there was something wrong with their daughter, she looked absolutely normal—in fact, beyond normal—she looked absolutely perfect in their eyes.
The skull is made up of joints, called sutures, that grow closer with development as the child ages. Craniosynostosis occurs when the sutures fuse improperly or prematurely. While it’s a somewhat common congenital defect (occurring in about 1 out of 1000 births), no parent likes the idea of their baby having surgery, especially craniofacial reconstructive surgery. With a concerned tone Kelly exclaimed, “Just the thought of them doing something to her skull, of them cutting her scalp from ear to ear,” but the thought of what her child’s life might be like without the surgery, or if she postponed it, was equally as frightening.
Madeline’s pediatrician recommended Dr. Barun Brahma of Pediatric Neurosurgery Associates, who then referred Madeline to Dr. Fernando Burstein. Kelly felt much more comfortable and knew her daughter was in good hands once she met with Dr. Burstein and Dr. Brahma. When Madeline was only nine months old, they worked side by side to release the improperly fused sutures and reconstruct one side of Madeline’s forehead.
With only the best compliments for both surgeons and the nurses at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Kelly said she would recommend them both to anyone. Understanding a mother’s perspective in a surgery such as this, Kelly offers advice to other mother’s of pediatric reconstructive surgery patients saying, “Believe in the process and trust the doctors.”
Madeline bounced back from her procedure surprisingly fast. In fact, she returned to day care three weeks later. Her parents are very satisfied with her results and are looking forward to celebrating her second birthday. Unaware of the defect to begin with, they were amazed at how different she looked.
To learn more about the reconstructive surgery and cosmetic procedures Dr. Burstein performs, visit his website and continue to read his blog. Be sure to also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.