A boy’s skull was torn apart and pieced back together like a jigsaw, after a procedure to prevent his brain from being crushed,
Daniel Bradley, a three-month-old Derbyshire boy, was diagnosed with craniosynostosis.
The rare illness occurs when the joints in the skull fuse together too early, leaving the brain with insufficient capacity to expand. It is expected to affect only one in every 2,500 births.
It can crush sections of the brain as it expands if left untreated, resulting in an abnormally shaped skull, learning difficulties, and visual problems. In rare instances, death may occur.
Daniel’s nine-hour operation in 2012 required surgeons to deconstruct and reconstruct his skull piece by piece.
The surgery left a breach in his skull, allowing his brain to develop normally.
The 10-year-old boy made a full recovery after the surgery, which left him with a massive zig-zag scar over his forehead.
Daniel Bradley (pictured in 2012), from Alfreton in Derbyshire, was diagnosed with rare condition craniosynostosis at three-months-old, which affects just one in 2,500 babies. It is caused when joints in the skull fuse together, meaning there is not enough room for the brain to grow
During the operation to save Daniel’s life in 2012, doctors had to painstakingly dismantle and rebuild Daniel’s skull piece-by-piece and rebuild it like a jigsaw puzzle. The procedure created a gap in Daniel’s head so his skull could then fuse back together as he grew older. The surgery left him with a giant zig-zag scar across his head (pictured)
Daniel (pictured) made a full recovery following the surgery. The Derby County fan is now training for a triathlon to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where doctors performed the life-saving operation
Craniosynostosis is a condition caused when gaps in babies’ skulls close early.
These gaps, known as cranial sutures, are needed to enable the skull to grow along with the brain.
But in youngsters with craniosynostosis, one or more of these structures close before or shortly after birth.
This restricts the growth of the skull in one area, leading to overgrowth in another and resulting in an unusually shaped head.
The condition is a rare birth defect that affects an estimated one in every 2,500-3,000 births, with boys three times more likely to develop the condition than girls.
The bones in babies’ skills usually have small gaps between them to allow the skull to make space for the brain as it increases in size.
But among craniosynostosis sufferers, one or more of these gaps fuses earlier than it is supposed to, restricting the growth of the skull.
Doctors do not know what causes the condition.
The birth defect does not always need to be treated. Sometimes, an unusual skull shape can become less noticeable over time.
But in more severe cases, the build-up of pressure in the skull can lead to blindness, seizures and brain damage, according to the US CDC.
Daniel’s mother, Victoria, 38, said: ‘We were told his brain would grow.
‘But his skull would crush his brain because he had no room for the brain to grow with his skull — it fused too quickly.’
Doctors performed a gruelling nine-hour surgery a week after his first birthday.
Beautician Ms Bradly said: ‘Surgeons broke his skull into pieces and moved his forehead to the top of his head, which has taken away his eyebrow bones.
‘If he hadn’t of had the surgery, he would have died.
‘Thankfully, the surgery was a success and he has managed to live normal life since then. He was up and about just hours after the operation.’
Daniel is now planning to complete a triathlon next month to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where his surgery was carried out.
To thank the medics and ‘help other children at the hospital, I came up with the idea to do a triathlon’, he said.
A GoFundMe page that was set up by Daniel’s family with a target of £1,000, has so far raised nearly £3,500.
The funds will go towards medical research, buying new hospital equipment and improving patient and staff welfare, as well as Ronald McDonald Housing Charity, where Daniel’s family stayed during his time in hospital.
Alongside his best friend Finley Whysall, Daniel will do a 500-metre swim, a three-mile run and a six-mile bike ride around Shipley and Alfreton on April 24.
Daniel said he was inspired to complete the fitness challenge after watching the Tokyo Olympics last year.
The Derby County fan said: ‘I told my mum I was going to do a triathlon for Birmingham’s Children Hospital where they looked after me when I was a baby.
‘I have been training at my local swimming pool and they have closed a lane especially for me.
Daniel is now planning to complete a triathlon next month to raise money for the hospital who performed the life-saving surgery. Alongside his best friend Finley Whysall, Daniel will do a 500-metre swim, a three-mile run and a six-mile bike ride around Shipley and Alfreton on April 24
‘We have been out running too, although not too hard as we want to try and save ourselves for the day of the event.
‘All of our teachers, family and friends have been really helpful and I am really pleased with how much money we have raised so far. I really appreciate it.
‘I am really enjoying doing the training at the moment, I do want to be a footballer but I plan to do more triathlons.
‘I will probably give myself a rest after this triathlon, but I want I want to do some more in future.’
Ms Bradly said she is ‘beyond proud’ of Daniel who is ‘really enjoying training’.
She said: ‘We are so thankful to everyone who has helped out, and for everyone who looked after Daniel when he was a baby.
‘We cannot thank them enough and were totally blown away by all the donations.
‘With the support of everybody donating towards their triathlon, the money will be going to a great place and a great cause.
‘Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald Housing Charity supported us when Daniel was poorly and this is Daniel’s way to say thank you.’