Heartbeat 11-03-13

A medical condition, with a long name, might be unfamiliar to you.
By Allison Morrison

(LUBBOCK, TX) - A medical condition, with a long name, might be unfamiliar to you.

But one Amarillo woman came face to face with the birth defect after her son was born.

She turned to a team of Lubbock doctor's to help.

"If I would've been more aware of this condition, I probably would've caught it sooner," Elena Vallier said.

When Vallier's son Xzabyan was born, she didn't think much of his misshapen head.

After all, he acted like a normal baby.

But at her doctor's advice, she had him checked out and discovered a birth defect called craniosynostosis.

"We all start off as babies as having multiple individual bones of the skull that eventually fuse to form one solid skull that we usually think of as just one bone," Dr. Joshua Demke said.

In Xzabyan's case, those sutures, or cracks in his skull, fused prematurely.

Dr. Demke said the problem was Xzabyan's brain was growing, but his skull was restricting it's growth and as a result, his head had an unusual shape.

The good news for Xzabyan was his condition could be corrected by surgery.

"It involves cutting the skull up into several pieces, bending and reshaping it and then putting it all back together with absorbable plates and screws," Dr. Demke said.

Xzabyan underwent that surgery about a month ago and Vallier said he's bounced back better than she'd expected.

"I see a big difference. There's no more lazy eye," she said.

Dr. Demke said Xzabyan's defect affects only one in every few thousand babies, but it's still important to be aware of it.

"Knowing when is it something that can be managed with simple repositioning techniques or maybe with a helmet versus when is it something I need to be a little more concerned about," he explained.
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