Beau Harrison, two, underwent a remarkable surgery to prevent his brain from being crushed due to a rare condition called craniosynostosis.
This condition, affecting one in 2,500 babies, occurs when the joints in the skull fuse together prematurely, restricting the brain’s growth. If left untreated, it can lead to learning difficulties, eye problems, and even death.
Beau’s 11-hour operation took place at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where surgeons carefully dismantled and rebuilt his skull, piece by piece.
The intricate procedure involved creating a gap in his skull to allow the brain to grow properly. Despite the significant zig-zag scar across his head, Beau is expected to make a full recovery.
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Shortly after Beau’s birth doctors discovered he had hydrocephalus, a condition characterised by excess fluid on the brain. Surgeons inserted a shunt into his head to alleviate the condition.
However, Beau’s health deteriorated, and he started experiencing seizures. Further tests revealed craniosynostosis was the underlying cause of his symptoms.
Beau’s mother, Shannon Wong, described the emotional rollercoaster she experienced. She said: “He went from being the happiest little boy in the world to being really grumpy and refusing the eat.
“He was barely sleeping either, so we took him back to the hospital where we found out the shunt had failed.”
The diagnosis of craniosynostosis came as a shock to Shannon. She explained: “It’s not something we had ever experienced or had any idea about. It’s also quite rare with only four hospitals in the country specialising in the treatment.”
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The surgery that followed was an intense 11-hour procedure, during which doctors broke Beau’s skull into several pieces and used dissolvable metal plates to expand and fuse it back together, “like a jigsaw puzzle”.
The recovery process was challenging, but Beau’s resilience and positive attitude amazed his mother. Shannon said: “Beau is just the happiest boy in the world, he is so cheeky and loves literally anything with wheels. His absolute favourites are motorbikes, quad bikes, and excavators. I am so proud of him. The strength and determination he has shown is incredible. Beau never complains about anything and takes it all in his stride. Seeing him deal with it all so well keeps me going.”
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