Elijah Hester
Lauderdale County
Not Feature Story
Elijah was born in 2002 and was growing up quickly just like any other healthy little boy. But unknown to his parents, his skull sutures (growth joints between the bones) had prematurely fused during his early development. The abnormal growth this caused soon became noticeable, and at age four, Elijah was referred by his pediatrician to the Craniofacial Center at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. There he met Dr. Grant and Dr. Blount and was diagnosed with Sagittal Craniosynostosis.

Since much of his skull development was already complete, Elijah was too old for the corrections performed on infants while the skull bones are still soft. His seven hour surgery in June 2006 required removing and reshaping his skull from his ears to his eyebrows.

Elijah’s rapid recovery from such an intense procedure came as a great relief; two days after surgery he was playing with toy cars in the floor as if nothing had happened. He did so well, we went home a day earlier than expected. As we buckled him in his carseat, we asked Elijah if he was ready to go home. His satisfied reply of, “well, I’ve got my new head” put a smile on everyone’s face. Less than two years later, we returned for a relatively minor operation to remove the dozens of plates, screws and wires that had held his skull together to heal. The removed hardware gives Elijah a great “show and tell” for his future grandkids, and he has the x-rays to back it up!

Elijah is now a healthy, active seven year old with no limitations on his activities. As a result of his experiences there, Elijah now affectionately refers to Children’s as “my hospital.” Since this specialized surgery is not done in very many places, we feel very fortunate and blessed for our son to have received such excellent care at Children’s Hospital of Alabama.