When Hunter, Jackson and Kaden were born, it only took a few days before doctors noticed something wasn’t quite right. Hunter and Jackson, who are identical, had skulls that protruded in the back. Their fraternal brother, Kaden, had a triangular shaped head with a pointy forehead.
A rare skull condition called craniosynostosis was to blame. It causes the bones in a newborn’s skull fuse together too early. And as far as doctors can tell, this is the first case where all 3 triplets share the same rare birth defect.
Craniosynostosis occurs in only 1 in 2,500 births. So, for all 3 boys to have this same defect is unheard of. The defect can limit brain growth, so the triplets needed corrective surgery.
Dr. David Chesler, the pediatric neurosurgeon who operated on the boys, said, “Your skull is made up of plates, it’s not a single bone,” “If the seams join together too early, the brain can be put under pressure. … That can be detrimental to the brain, the vision, the life of the child. It’s not imminently life-threatening, but it can cause real consequences down the road.”
All three boys, Hunter, Jackson and Kaden underwent surgery at 11 weeks old. Their dad Mike Howard says, “I was very freaked out, any time you have to put the baby [in an operating room], it’s a little crazy.”
Now, as part of the post-operative care, the three boys wear custom-sized helmets, 23 hours a day, 7 days a week, in order to shape and mold their skulls as they grow up.
They are required to wear protective head gear for six months. As for precautionary measures, the triplets will need to go for two checkups every year, till they are six years old.