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Meet Adele

19th April, 2019

Adele’s amazing recovery after radical surgery

More than four years after a series of radical surgeries, it is only now that Adele Bruckhans has started to ask why she has a scar on her head.

“She has no memory of it,” said mum Katherine.

“I said the doctors had to fix the bones in your head, and you needed special surgery because they were squashing your brain. She was pretty satisfied with my explanation.”

Mrs Bruckhans and husband Alex were referred to the Royal Children’s Hospital after a maternal child and health nurse who noticed the soft-spot on their three-month-old’s head was getting too small.

Scans showed that the dense connective tissue between the skull bones, called the coronal sutures, had started to fuse way before the usual time of 18 months.

 

Adele

Adele at 7 months old after her first surgery

It was causing the back of Adele’s head to flatten, and her eyebrow ridge to be pushed back into the skull. There could have put pressure on the growing brain, boxing it in, if left untreated.

When the Herald Sun featured her story as part of the Good Friday Appeal in 2014, the seven-month-old had just undergone her first surgery. Her skull had been cut and metal distractors had been fixed to the skull bone, just above her ears.

These 2cm long antennas, which poked out of her hairline, needed to be turned each day at home over a month, to slowly increase the size of the skull and allow new bone to form in its place.

After the desired shape was created, the distractors were removed and Adele had the final surgery just before her first birthday to bring the front of her head forward.

“It was a huge difference. It changed the whole shape of her face,” Mrs Bruckhans said. “She looked amazing afterwards.”

The five-year-old continues to have annual check-ups at the RCH to monitor her skull growth.

“I just want her to be happy and confident, a normal little girl which is exactly what she is,” she said.

The five-year-old continues to have annual check-ups at the RCH to monitor her skull growth.

“I just want her to be happy and confident, a normal little girl which is exactly what she is,” she said.

 

Adele Bruckhans (5) with her dog Emmalon, 5 years after her time in the RCH. Picture: Jay Town

 

Originally published in the Herald Sun, April 11, 2019

Words: Brigid O’Connell

To read the original story, visit the Herald Sun website

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