When Matthew Boler developed an unusually oblong head, his parents simply thought that he had inherited the family trait of large heads. That is, until doctors diagnosed him otherwise.
“We definitely thought it looked a little unusual,” Matther's mother, Megan Boler, told ABC News (video below). “We thought maybe he has an unusual-shaped head. We didn’t think about any of the ramifications.”
During Matthew’s two-month checkup, however, a pediatrician noted that Matthew could possibly have craniosynostosis. The dangerous condition was suspected because Matthew lacked a soft spot on his head.
The Boler family was recommended to a neurosurgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where doctors confirmed that Matthew suffered from the condition: a more specific type known as sagittal synostosis. The condition causes the skull to fuse to the back of the head early in development, which prevents the brain from having a place to grow and contributes to the odd shape of the head.
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“His brain was growing underneath but the skull doesn’t allow for it because of the way it’s fused,” Dr. Sandi Lam, Director of Craniofacial Surgery Program at Texas Children’s Hospital, said. “There’s no medicine that will unfuse the bone, the treatment is surgery and basically we have to cut out the bad bone.”
Thankfully, Matthew’s surgery at 10 weeks old went well. If not caught in time, the condition can cause high pressure in the brain, which can be dangerous and lead to developmental delays in some cases.
Thankfully, Matthew's surgery at 10 weeks old went well, and he had a 72-hour recovery period. He was required to wear a special helmet for almost 24 hours a day over the course of four months.
Now, just a few weeks from Matthew’s first birthday, Megan said there’s no evidence that her son was ever unhealthy.
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Photo Credit: ABC News Courtesy Megan Boler