Let’s face it. A baby can have a dramatic – if not squishy – entrance into the world. That can leave many babies with oddly shaped heads that “plump” into shape later. Baby Lincoln was born beautiful, happy and in perfect health. It wasn’t until he was two months old, that his mom, Mealan noticed his head wasn’t “plumping out.” In fact, she noticed her baby’s head had a bit of a ridge… but maybe she was imagining things? Following her intuition, she took him to the doctor with her concerns. She was told that babies’ heads can change for the first year and a half of life, and that everything was fine. Temporarily reassured, it wasn’t until the health nurse noticed Lincoln’s head when the real alarm went off. The nurse felt it was serious enough that she should call Health Link and get a referral to the Head Shape Clinic at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. There, she learned Lincoln did in fact have a serious condition called Craniosynostosis – where the joints between the bones of a baby’s skull fuse prematurely. The head doesn’t have room to develop normally and appears ridge-like. Left untreated, the head and face develop abnormally and the child grows up with a severe deformity. Despite being told it could be corrected with a surgery, Mealan was devastated. But she knew she was in the right place after speaking to Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Dr. Jay Riva-Cambrin. He and Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Ryan Frank, could tag-team an operation to fix Lincoln’s head. Unfortunately, because Lincoln was already 6 1/2 months old, he’d missed the window for the minimally-invasive surgery and would have to have the “open” procedure where the top of his skull would be removed, reshaped and reattached with absorbable plates. No matter how invasive the surgery would be, not doing it wasn’t an option. Mealan wanted her little boy to grow up normally and to not have to worry about a deformity.


So in January, Drs. Frank and Riva-Cambrin performed the four hour surgery and it went perfectly. His head looked better immediately – although the swelling, bruising and scar that accompany the surgery were shocking. Mealan was even more shocked that they were home within four days of the operation. Today Lincoln is doing great. His head looks a normal shape – and while the scar is profound, once he gets hair that won’t be a concern.

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