A toddler who had the most misshapen head doctors had ever seen has undergone pioneering surgery to prevent her brain from being squashed.
Three-year-old Kaydence Theriault and her fellow triplets Taylor and Kaylin were all born with Crouzon Syndrome, which causes the baby’s head to become misshapen.
Kaydence had the most severe form doctors had ever seen because her skull was shaped like a cloverleaf.
She needed life-saving surgery to ensure her brain didn’t become damaged.
A team of expert cranio-facial surgeons came together to save her, and now Kaydence and her siblings are like any playful toddlers who will celebrate their fourth birthday in December.
They are suffering no health issues or learning problems and are catching up in height with other youngsters.
Their mother Bobbie Jo, 38, of Indianapolis, said: ‘The doctors have been amazing.
‘When Kaydence was born no-one knew if she would survive. But thanks to their incredible talent we have a normal healthy daughter and we can’t thank them enough.’
Crouzon Syndrome is a genetic condition that causes the plates of a baby’s skull to lock in position too early, before the brain has had chance to grow.
Most children born with the condition have surgery before they are 18 months old to separate the skull before it fuses.
But Kaydence’s condition was so severe the bones were already joining together, pushing her head into an odd shape at the top and sides, like a three-leaved clover.
Mrs Theriault had no idea there was a problem until her 20-week scan showed one of the triplets had a deformity.
She said: ‘When the doctors told me about Kaydence having a cloverleaf shaped head, I couldn’t picture that. I have never seen it before so I had no idea what to expect.’
She and her eldest son Jayden, eight, also have Crouzon Syndrome, which Mrs Theriault inherited from her father. But each of them has a milder form and underwent small operations just before they were one.
Her husband Jason said: ‘The shape of Jayden’s head started changing and that’s when we and the doctors realised he needed surgery. He was in hospital two or three days and then he was home and that was the end of it and he was completely fine.
‘That’s one of the main reasons why we had decided to have another child. I didn’t want Jayden to grow up without a sibling.’
Kaydence needed emergency surgery to open up her skull at two months old, as soon as she was strong enough, so her brain would have room to grow.
Then, three months later, a team of expert surgeons came together at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis to perform a delicate operation to reshape her head.
World famous cranio-facial surgery Dr Kenneth Salyer, from Texas, was brought in to help with the surgery, which took place in May 2010 and lasted eight-and-a half hours.
Neurosurgeon Dr Ronald Young said: ‘The only way to reshape the head is to take that bone apart and put it back together in a different shape and that’s what we did.’
Misshapen: An MRI scan of Kaydence’s skull soon after she was born, showing the severity of her case