Hannah's Surgery Recap- The Medical Version

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This post is for my mom, grandfather, sister and any other medically minded people. If you get squeamish with medical pictures, you may not want to look at the pictures, although they're not that bad.

Sagittal Synostosis, while not common, is not terribly uncommon. About 1 in 2,000 babies are born with this condition, although boys are more likely to be born with it than girls (for whatever reason). Researchers still do not know what causes Synostosis, usually it’s a fluke genetic occurrence. Our surgeon actually said he was surprised more children aren’t born with it.

In order to correct her Synostosis, the doctor made two small incisions near the back of her head and removed a 3cm wide strip of bone from her skull. I’m not sure how long the strip is, I think it’s about 4 inches. The surgery basically recreated a soft spot for her. Now her skull and brain can grow in the typical way.

She was given general anesthesia via a face mask and then an IV was inserted to continue administering anesthesia. However, the anesthesiologists (there were two) had trouble finding a vein, so our little baby had about seven (you know I counted) prick marks on her wrist. As a result, her wrist was bruised and swollen for the next day. Poor Hannah.

Once it started the actual procedure took about 2 hours. The entire surgery was endoscopic, but unfortunately she still lost some blood (which was expected) and had to be given a small transfusion (I think it was 30ccs of red blood cells). She was stitched up with dissolvable stitches and the incision sites were sealed with a special glue. The glue negates the need for bandages and such, an incredible invention.

According to Dr. Butler (the surgeon), the surgery went smoothly and the extent of her condition was just as he expected. All the doctors and nurses kept saying how great Hannah did during surgery and what a strong little girl she is. We’re so proud of her.

All in all, her recovery has gone beautifully. Her pain is gone (we were giving her infant Tylenol for a couple of days after the surgery) and she hasn’t had any swelling since we got home from the hospital. Her incisions have been a little sensitive (which is to be expected) and she has been a little more clingy. I’m sure the whole experience was a little traumatizing for her, shoot, it was traumatizing for me. But she’s back to her happy, smiley self now and we couldn’t be happier.

**Mom, sorry these pics are a little blurry, it was the best I could do.


  1. Thanks Jennie. Your explanation and pictures clear up any confusion i had with Hannah's surgery! I envisioned a longitudinal incision vs the transverse, so the photos were helpful. Glad that's behind the three of you!

  2. Jennie, thanks for such a wonderful description as well as the pictures...you could be a surgical nurse! We sympathize completely with your feelings for Hannah....she's going to be a real trouper forever! Love, Grammie/Grampa


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