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Cutting-edge surgery on infants born with an abnormally shaped skulls offered at Hasbro

Cutting-edge surgery on babies born with an abnormally shaped skull is being offered at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence. (WJAR)

Cutting-edge surgery on babies born with an abnormally shaped skull is being offered at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence.

Dr. Albert Woo is one of the few surgeons in the United States who performs the minimally invasive procedure.

One of his first patients was Kyle Izzo, who was born with a deformed skull, on August 19, 2016.

"It was kind of, like, so what's going on with his head?’ Corrine, his mother, said.

She and her husband, John, learned that Kyle had sagittal craniosynostosis.

"This is something that happens in one in about 2,000 kids who are born today," said Woo, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Hasbro.

Kyle had a fused growth plate, and because of it, his skull wasn't able to grow in to the normal shape.

Woo said his head was noticeably narrow and long.

But the real story here is how it was fixed.

It wasn't with traditional surgery, which Woo said a big scar is made from ear-to-ear. The traditional surgery, he said, also requires up to a week in the hospital, and includes swelling and significant blood loss.

Kyle had the same surgery in a minimally invasive way.

"We're able to do most of this work with just two small one-inch incisions on the scalp and we're using an endoscope, or basically just a tiny camera,” Woo said. “And Dr. Klinge is working through the camera to remove the abnormal bone."

Children are usually out of the hospital the next day. No swelling is involved.

"I became a believer in the endoscopic treatment," said Dr. Petra Klinge, a neurosurgeon at Rhode Island Hospital.

Klinge is now a part of Woo’s team.

"It's really rewarding to see how when we're doing the surgery, how in an instant the skull expands with the brain," she said.

Kyle’s parents said they are grateful, as their son as in and out of surgery within an hour.

"We're extremely lucky," said Corrine, with John adding, "He was back to himself really the next day.”

Kyle had to wear a helmet for 10 months, something his parents said he grew accustomed to as he played alongside his brother Ryan, who is 15 months older.

"He got the helmet off June 12th,” Corrine said.

And, he is thriving.

"It's interesting to see Ryan and Kyle here together,” said Woo. “Their head shapes are virtually identical."

Woo said he had performed the operation more than 100 times before arriving at Hasbro in 2016. He recently published research in the Journal of Neurosurgery, showing the benefits of the technique.

Click here to learn more.

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