Amazing recovery of Doncaster’s ‘jigsaw baby’

Amanda and Riley Maddox.

Amanda and Riley Maddox.

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A toddler born with a rare head defect made an amazing recovery after surgeons were forced to break open his skull and put it back together like a jigsaw.

Little Riley Maddox was born with craniosynostosis - meaning that parts of his skull that should be separate are fused together while still in the womb.

Riley Maddox.

Riley Maddox.

This meant that bones that should move around to allow for the toddler’s brain to grow wouldn’t budge - leaving him with a head deformity and putting his at risk of death due to fatal pressure being put on the brain.

But the three-year-old is now full of life after making a remarkable recovery from a five-hour operation in which surgeons cracked open his skull and pieced it back together again to allow for more cranial space.

Mum Amanda, aged 38, of Wildene Drive, Mexborough, said: “It is an amazing procedure. They completely remodelled his skull. But what was even more amazing was how he recovered. A few days after he was out of hospital and back to normal, bouncing around like any other toddler.”

The former nursery nurse took Riley to the doctors after noticing he was struggling to sit up at 10-months-old. A paediatrician checked the shape of his skull and a craniosynostosis diagnosis was made.

At age 18 months Riley then underwent a ‘full cranial volt remodel’ at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Amanda, who now works as a hairdresser, said: “We were devastated when we were first told about the diagnosis because you never want anything to happen to your beautiful little baby. But at the same time it is a serious condition and I am glad that we now know what it was so we could do something about it.”

She also urged parents who feel their baby may have the condition to make sure they pursue treatment.

“The biggest thing to look out for is a deformity in the head. Some doctors put this down to it being natural in the first few weeks after birth, but if you notice the misshape in the skull has remained then get a second opinion from a paediatrician. It is quite a rare condition so I would even say suggest craniosynostosis as a possible cause to them.”

Amanda decided to share her son’s story as September is Craniosynostosis Awareness Month.

The condition affects about one in 2000 births.

She said: “I wanted to raise awareness because it is a really serious condition but is not really that well known.

“It can cause sight problems and learning difficulties.

“Riley couldn’t walk until he was two and he’s having help with his speech at the moment. But he is doing incredibly well.”

Any parents who would like more information about the condition are urged to visit www.headlines.org.uk - a UK-based craniofacial support group.