Doctors at the Red Cross Hospital have operated on a four-year-old boy from Plettenberg Bay to save his life. Christiano Adams, who had a problematic jaw joint that cut off his air supply, can breathe normally again.
And after years in trying to find out why Adams had difficulty in breathing, doctors at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital discovered that he had a condition called micrognathia, meaning that he had a fused jaw joint. The condition caused his jaw not to grow.
A few months ago Adams underwent surgery through which growth of his jaw bone was stimulated. The surgery, a mandibular distraction, was sponsored by the Smile Foundation, during the annual Smile Week. Midface distractors were inserted into Adams’s jaw. Doctors gradually lengthened his jaw by constantly widening the distractors and creating space for the bone to grow.
The distractors were removed last month and Christiano returned to the hospital recently to have his tracheostomy removed. His mother, Segourney Adams, said that she is relieved that her son can breathe normally again.
“When Christiano was born he struggled to breathe and at night he would wake constantly. I sensed that something was seriously wrong and sought medical help.
“We went from doctor to doctor and he was diagnosed with everything from a blocked nose to tonsillitis. When Christiano was one-and-a-half years old the condition became life threatening. His mouth was too small to hold his tongue in position and when he slept it would fall back into his throat and cut off his air supply,” she said.
Christiano has never been able to attend a crèche and his condition has made it impossible for him to speak. His mother said he communicated using gestures. Days after having the tracheostomy removed Christiano had started to speak.
“I’m so grateful to the hospital for all they have done for Christiano,” his mother said. “And I especially want to thank the Smile Foundation for sponsoring the surgery.”
Moira Gerszt, the chief operating officer of the Smile Foundation said: “The Smile Foundation is thrilled to have played a part in giving Christiano the incredible opportunity of this life-changing surgery.”