Sagittal Synostosis & Perthes Disease

Many of my friends have heard me talk about the surgery I had on my skull when I was a baby, some have seen my scar or felt my lumpy head.  Well, my Mom scanned some photos and sent them to me tonight.  Sagittal Synostosis is a condition in infants where the “soft spot” closes early and keeps the skull from growing side to side.  The head can only grow front to back, giving the baby an elongated head.

Surgery is performed to remove a part of the skull and essentially create a new soft spot, allowing the head to grow properly.  I was about 6 months old when I had my surgery.

Here are a few photos taken after my surgery, during my recovery:

Feb. 1984  My Mom has told me that after the surgery she was too afraid to hold me for fear of hurting me so my Aunt Sheryl, a nurse, held me first in the photo above.

Feb. 1984
Here I am being held by my very concerned Mother.

Feb. 1984

Feb. 1984  004

 

 

March -AprilA month or so later, my hair had started to grow back and my scar had healed.

 

Sagittal Synostosis has no lasting side effects and it’s not something that really has any impact on my life.  I had follow-up Doctor visits to make sure everything went smoothly but then that was it.  I was too young to have any memories from this time, thankfully.


I do however have very vivid memories of dealing with Perthes Disease.  You can find info on Perthes Disease on Wikipedia.  To put it simply, Perthes Disease is degenerative disease where the hip joint starts to fall apart and lose mass.  When I was a kid the treatment was a leg brace.  I was 4 years old and wore it for a year, and Mom just sent me some photos today:

 

Summer '87

 

 

Summer '87

 

I don’t remember any pain, even though I apparently did experience some, but I do remember the frustration.  I remember not being able to run or jump or play with the other kids on the McDonald’s playground.  I remember walking like a penguin, hobbling side to side to get to my destination.  I’ve heard the story many times of how my Grandfather cried when he first saw me in my brace.  He’s told me the story many times, and it still seems to get to him all these years later.

I remember the day I finally got to take off my brace.  My Doctor’s office was in a building that had a big open lobby, that went up several floors.  It had this wide spiral staircase in the middle and after confirming with my Doctor I could indeed run and jump, I ran out of the office, jumped, skipped and headed for the stairs.  I dragged my Mom up and down those stairs several times that day.

 

Well, there you go.  I know more photos exist from both my surgery and my leg brace, but these are all that I have for now.