A baby boy who was born without a large part of his skull is beating doctors’ expectations at 7 months old. His family is now celebrating his son’s 7 months of life after they were told their son would not survive after his birth as he was diagnosed with a unique neural tube deficiency that made his skull to hold growth in the womb.
Lucas Santa Maria, who was diagnosed with exencephaly during his mother’s 10-week ultrasound appointment, is considered as the primary newborn to endure the situation. Exencephaly intends that the developing brain is presented to amniotic fluid and other damaging difficulties in the womb.
Dr. Tim Vogel, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at North Jersey Brain and Spine Center, spoke to Fox News, “Exencephaly is where the brain is outside of the skull, and it’s normally only capped by a thin layer of skin made up of one or two cells. There’s just enough protection of the brain, but it’s usually not functional. All other cases aside from Lucas are not survivable.”
Lucas’s mother was told about these complications and was preparing her family for the consequences.
Dr. Vogel promised the family to save their child in all the possible ways they can. They told them that he will perform a surgery which will help to cleave the non-functional part from the body and fortunately the infant started showing positive results, he started breathing and eating on his own.
“It was a sensitive dance between what we can do and what we need to save,” Vogel told, unveiling that the hours-long surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center involved parting vessels to assure that Lucas did not experience a stroke, or miss any of the brain functionality that he had.
Vogel’s team also had to protect the spinal fluid cavity so that the brain would be defended once they were done, and stop any infection from setting in. Vogel told that the dura, which is the brain’s outermost membrane, has the capacity to build bones in children under the age of 18 months.
In addition to this Vogel said, the bone has started to form a protective layer around the brain and that the scalp has grown over it, complete with hair. Future surgeries will include taking the bone currently growing and shaping it around other areas that are lacking, which makes the timing tricky.