We read so much about in-utero diagnoses with terrible endings. It’s nice to read one with a happy ending where the parents decided not to abort and doctors used 21st century technology to save the baby, rather than harm.
Expecting parents Dustin and Sierra Yoder were handed dreadful news during a routine prenatal ultrasound. The pair were told their baby boy had encephalocele, a rare birth defect that causes the brain to grow outside the brain cavity due to a hole in the skull. Normally a fatal condition, this story has a happy outcome thanks to a pair of surgeons who used 3D printing to devise a successful treatment, reports STAT.
The story of Bentley and his miracle treatment started in early 2015 when Dustin and Sierra Yoder discovered they were expecting their second child. This joy turned to despair when the couple received the encephalocele diagnosis and were told by doctors that the “baby would be ‘incompatible with life,” said Sierra Yoder to STAT.
Immediately following the diagnosis, the Yoders had to make the difficult decision whether to continue the pregnancy or terminate it at that point. Because she was already more than 22 weeks along, this decision had to be made immediately. After briefly considering an abortion, the pair decided to deliver the baby and care for him until he passed. “The night before the procedure, I told Dustin I couldn’t do it,” Yoder said to the Washington Post.
It’s so great to hear about parents facing a difficult time and choosing life.
And then this:
Neurosurgeon-in-chief Mark Proctor and plastic surgeon John Meara took on Bentley’s case and worked together to formulate a treatment plan. In most cases, doctors remove the portion of the brain that is outside the skull and then close the cranium to protect the remaining brain tissue. Bentley’s case was unusual because he was using all of his brain tissue. Doctors could not remove his brain, so they decided instead to expand his skull and allow the brain to slide back into his cranium.
To prepare for this challenging surgery, the surgeons created several 3D-printed models of Bentley’s skull. These models allowed the surgeons to plan the operation and practice it several times before entering the operating room. With a plan in hand, the doctors completed the surgery in just five hours. In the month following the surgery, Bentley has improved dramatically — “He is now able to hold up his head. He’s eating. He’s smiling. He’s jabbering,” said Sierra in a Washington Post interview.
Some good news to get your Friday started out right. Don’t ever say I didn’t give you anything.
Now, we’ll return to our compiling our daily litany of horrors and calamities.
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