Jasper aka 'Mighty Mouse' and two Dr. ZZZ's
Jasper is an amazing little guy. He is perpetually jolly despite all that he has been through. Jasper is also an identical twin, who shared the womb with his slightly larger and very stubborn brother, Flint. The boys were born at 37 weeks, at six and nearly seven pounds, happy and healthy. Jasper, nicknamed "Mighty Mouse," was growing faster than his brother. All seemed to be going well for the Nye family.
When Jasper turned four months old, things changed. At birth, Jasper's head had a different shape than Flint’s. It was narrower, but doctors thought it was due to sharing a small space in the womb. However, Poppi, Jasper's mother, noticed a ridge down the middle of his head, a sign that the two parietal bones in his skull had fused early.
"Jasper was born with Sagittal Synostosis,” said pediatric neurosurgeon Garrett Zoeller, M.D.
“This is a condition characterized by premature fusion of the sagittal suture, the connection between the skull’s parietal bones. Over time, these children develop an elongated, narrow skull with a midline ridge, which we refer to as ‘Scaphocephaly,’ a term that literally translates to ‘boat-shaped head,’ as the deformity may resemble the keel of a ship.” Dr. Zoeller continued, “The deformity is not only cosmetic; studies have shown that children with Craniosynostosis may be at risk of neurological development disorders and cognitive impairment.”
After multiple meetings with Dr. Zoeller and craniofacial surgeon Dr. Christopher Zarella
, Jasper underwent surgery to repair his cranial deformity. "We talked a lot with Dr. Zarella, weighing the pros and cons of each surgery," stated Poppi. "We were most interested in the Spring Mediated Cranioplasty, which was the least invasive and the shortest hospital stay." The Spring Mediated Cranioplasty is when the fused sagittal suture is removed, and two springs are placed against the edges of the parietal bones to expand the skull over the next four to five months. The springs make it grow wider more quickly and help guide the skull to grow into a more rounded shape. Although a second short outpatient surgery is necessary to remove the springs after four to five months, a major benefit of the Spring Cranioplasty is that it shortens the hospitalization substantially and eliminates the need for a blood transfusion.
Since Jasper's surgeries, he has had physical therapy, X-rays, CT scans and many doctor’s appointments, but through it all, he has been sweet, patient and cheerful. Jasper’s experiences have already seemed to strengthen him despite his young age. He is all over the place these days; rolling, playing and giggling with his brother. Though both boys have had some developmental delays, they are catching up fast.
Jasper’s operation was the first of its kind in the Northwest for both the doctors and their patient. “Jasper’s head shape deformity was extremely severe at the time of surgery,” said Dr. Zarella. “We are so happy that his results are so good and that his head shape will continue to round out as he grows.” Dr. Zarella went on to say that had Jasper gone any other surgical route, his results may not have been as good and he would have undergone much more invasive procedures, to include longer surgery time and a longer hospital stay. For both doctors, Jasper’s surgeries are considered a success and his head is beginning to look much more like Flint’s.
"I think that my family has been changed by our positive experience at Randall Children's Hospital
," said Poppi. "We didn't really know what was going to happen and when it is your tiny infant son, it is very worrisome. This experience has left me in awe and admiration of the doctors, nurses and staff who helped treat my little boy. I was worried, but every step of the way we were comforted and treated admirably, and Jasper is doing very well."
Jasper will make yearly visits to Drs. Zoeller and Zarella, lovingly known as Doctor ZZZ's by the Nye family, until Jasper is seven. Until then, they are enjoying his happy nature and watching him heal and grow. "In the long term we won’t have to worry that there is pressure on Jasper’s brain," said Poppi. "We also know that we did all that we could so that Jasper would have a beautiful head and a fulfilling life. Our doctors have helped give Jasper every chance at happiness, and he is already using every second!"
For media inquiries, contact Ashley Stanford Cone
Photos courtesy of the Nye family and photographer, Carly Garay.