Inside the Operating Room
Warning: surgery pictures may be graphic.
Today I got to do one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced – watch a surgery inside an operating room. I got to see doctors put the pieces of an incomplete lip back together, insert a tube into an ear, and close an opening that had formed in a palate. The amazingness of it all was hard to capture on camera. But I tried.
First up, Dr. Dan cleared out Marcos’ ears. As an avid viewer of gross Youtube videos of zit squeezing and ear wax removal, I was pretty excited. The result exceeded my expectations.
My apologies to those who find this disgusting, but I had to share. Dr. Dan then expertly inserted the tiniest of tubes into his ears. Kids with clefts often have fluid in their ears, so the tube will help dry out the ear and increase hearing.
Next up was closing his palate. Marcos had surgery previously to bring the two sides of his palate together, but a small hole formed afterward. Dr. Brian said this can happen from lack of nutrition during the healing process.
Dr. Brian closed the hole by cutting along the outside of the palate and bringing the two sides together. Marcos is recovering well in the post-op room.
The next surgery was Darolin. The 5-month-old got her first lip procedure. Here’s what her lip looked like this morning.
As the surgery began, I wondered how this was ever going to work. There was so much tissue, going in every direction. I thought that a large amount of tissue would have to be removed in order for the two sides of the lip to ever be brought together.
But to my surprise, almost all of the tissue was utilized. Two small pieces were removed, which Martine saved in a vile for her research. Dr. Brian said that we’re born with what we need; it just may not be in the order we want it. Over the next hour or so, he expertly put the pieces of this 3D puzzle together. Layers had to be taken one at a time. First the gums, then the lower skin, the muscle in the middle, and finally the outer skin. It was amazing to watch things come together.
Darolin is in recovery now, fast asleep in her mother’s arms. I really have been struck seeing how kids recover, quickly returning to their old selves. Just now without the gap, either inside their mouth or outside, that had made their life more difficult.
And now for the rest of us, it’s time for a dance party – complete with balloons and glow sticks.