Today, Katie met the neurosurgeon or the neurosurgeon met us, or whatever. At any rate, Katie met the neurosurgeon. Hereafter known as Dr. G.
We dropped Ben off with another of our wonderful friends and headed out to Davis Island where Dr. G’s office (one of them) is. Nice facility with valet parking (go figure), but it does make it very easy to get from the car to the next locations with a small baby.
We went up to the “academic offices” in the building looking for our contact person. We were informed that she wasn’t in yet for the day, but to have a seat and someone would be with us shortly. Much to our surprise, it was Dr. G. She was out of surgery early, we were early, so she figured we should just get started.
She is very calm and seems to really know what she’s doing. Of course, she thinks Katie is adorable (I wouldn’t be her mom if I didn’t agree with that assessment, would I?). At any rate, the exam was fairly, well, short.
She measured Katie’s skull, looked at her feet, checked her movement of her hands, neck, and so forth. Then we unsnapped the bottom of her outfit and slipped her diaper off to check her bottom. Apparently, it’s “asymmetrical” — I’m wondering if that means she’s going to have trouble with bathing suits when she’s older. She checked hip movement and all of that other fun stuff.
She then explained to us what, from her perspective the surgery entails and what we need to be aware of and what “options” we have. The short version is we have no option. Katie’s eye sockets are not developing “normally” and must be reconstructed, which is a major part of the surgery. She showed us, on Katie, where the sockets should be and the shape of the eye as it should be and how Katie’s are, now, quite obviously not in the right place and not the right shape, which could cause problems down the line.
She explained that the surgery will involve a cut from ear to ear on Katie’s head. Because Katie has inherited my hair (for those who know me IRL, you know what this means; for those who don’t, curly and fine), she wants to do the cut in a wavy pattern so that it can be better hidden by her hair. She suggests, though doesn’t require, that we let them shave Katie so that she is completely bald. So, I’m guessing her 1st birthday pictures are going to be unusual (Auntie ML — have a solution for that?).
Once they’ve made the cut and peeled back her scalp, they will cut and remove her forehead area and reshape it. They will reshape the eye sockets and smooth out the ridges, put in spacers and so forth to promote growth. They’ll close up and use either paper tape or absorbable sutures. Katie will the be in the ICU after the surgery.
She said it won’t look too bad immediately after the surgery, but by the morning following Katie will be very, very swollen. We’ve been warned, by others, that she will be so swollen that her eyes won’t be able to open. She will be able to take a bottle in the recovery room and she’ll be eating and so forth fairly quickly after the surgery. She’ll be released three to four days post-op assuming no complications.
The potential for complications is a little scary, but she says she never seen one of these have the potential complications, so we feel a bit reassured. Potential complications include tearing of the brain covering or damage to the optic nerve or the eye itself. Again, she says she’s never seen it happen, but because of where they’re working, the potential exists so she has to inform us.
Katie should be released three to four days post-op depending how she’s recovering. Once she’s home we will have to care for the surgical site. She will be seen by either Dr. R or Dr. G at seven days post-op, and then by the other one a few weeks later. Apparently, she’ll be seeing them both intermittently for a while, but they trade off who she visits each time.
The chances for the need for further surgery are fairly small because of the type of stenosis that she has. Because both eye sockets are involved, instead of just one, it lessens the chance that she will need to have her head further dealt with at a later time.
Next up for Katie is a trip to the pediatric ophthalmologist and the scheduling of her surgery date.