Portland doctors perform specialized brain surgery to help resha - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland doctors perform specialized brain surgery to help reshape skull of local infant

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Jasper Nye after going through specialized brain surgery to help reshape his skull. (KPTV) Jasper Nye after going through specialized brain surgery to help reshape his skull. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Two Portland doctors are the first in the Pacific Northwest to perform a specialized brain surgery to help reshape the skull of a local infant whose bones fused together too soon, according to Randall Children's Hospital. 

Jasper and Flint Nye are identical twins, yet from birth nothing was alike about their size.

"When he was born, right away doctors called him Mighty Mouse," said mom Poppi Multz-Nye. 

Little Jasper was born with an oddly shaped head, at the time, it wasn't a concern. 

"We were wondering if maybe something happened in the womb and his head was squished because his bigger stubborn brother wouldn't move," Poppi Multz-Nye said. "We thought that's probably what it was."

But, months later, a mysterious ridge developed down the middle of Jasper's head.  

"Being unsure of what's going on, you know, you're scared because you've got this teeny little baby and you want everything to be perfect," said Poppi Multz-Nye.

Doctors at Randall Children's Hospital discovered the parietal bones in Jasper's skull prematurely fused together. When that happens, children develop an elongated narrow skull with a midline ridge, they refer to as Scaphocephaly. A term that means "boat shaped head."  

It's a deformity that's not only cosmetic, but can lead to developmental disorders and cognitive impairment. 

"The classic surgery is the reconstruction of the skull," said RCH Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Garrett Zoeller. "So, we'd do a large incision, pull the scalp back and expose skull. Then we'd drill it off and disconnect it and sort of like a puzzle, we'd put it back together in a different way."

That was a terrifying thought to the Nye's, who asked if there was any other way to help their son. Turns out there was, only it was surgery yet to be done in the Northwest.

"I picked up the method as a med student at Wake Forest. Dr. Lisa David was my mentor there, and she had done it before in the late 90's," said Craniofacial Surgeon Dr. Christopher Zarella. "So, basically in lieu of making cuts on the bone and dismantling the skull, it's just taking out the fused suture and putting in some springs."

The idea behind what's called the Spring Mediated Cranioplasty is to temporarily place springs against the edges of the parietal bones to expand a skull over a matter of months. Those springs are removed after that time.    

"It was scary, but a lot less scary then them removing the entire skull piece at a time," said father Chris Nye. 

For the Nyes the choice to move forward with this new less invasive surgery was clear.    

"It's pretty intense to watch your 4-month-old taken away from you in the teeniest little hospital gown ever made, it's scary," said Poppi Multz-Nye.

Working side by side the two doctors successfully performed the first Spring Mediated Cranioplasty in the Northwest. Months later they also successful removed those springs from Jasper's head. So far, they believe his skull is expanding exactly like they hoped.

"When Dr. Z first introduced the idea of doing the cranioplasty to me, I was hesitant, but we did our research and looked at the data and I agreed with him. I thought, this looks like something worth trying," said Dr. Zoeller. "We've had success so far, it's early, but we hope to see continued success."

The Nye's say they're grateful to both doctors and can't wait to one day tell little Mighty Mouse just how mighty he was. 

"He's a tough little dude for being a 14-month-old kid," said Chris Nye. 

The doctors say they've already performed their second successful Spring Mediated Cranioplasty since Jasper's surgery and also considered that operation a success.

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