March 12, 2005

"The inside of the body is a very good place to store things like this."

The amazing, successful medical treatment of a 2-year old boy whose father accidentally ran over his head with the tire of a 2-ton SUV.
The procedure [Dr. Michael R. Egnor] performed, called a cranial cruciate decompression, involved removing four triangular sections of bone from the top of Bobby's skull, leaving behind a cross-shaped, floating section to protect a large vein and four openings through which the swelling could protrude, alleviating the pressure.

The quadrants that were removed are now being temporarily stored just below the skin of the boy's lower abdomen and will be reattached to his skull in two to three weeks, when the danger of further swelling has passed. "The inside of the body is a very good place to store things like this because it's sterile," Dr. Egnor said.

Despite swelling that lasted about a week, he said the pressure on Bobby's brain was kept in check. Stony Brook has been performing cruciate decompressions for about two years, and the procedure has become fairly common in larger hospitals across the country, he said.

"Many hospitals have the ability, but there's often a pessimism about a child's chances for survival," he said, adding that he had performed about six on children, all of them older than Bobby and all but one surviving.

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