Entries in Internal Decapitation (1)


Boy Suffers Internal Decapitation

Photo Courtesy - Heather Andrews/ABC News(PHOENIX) -- Heather Andrews, 34, of Phoenix felt a vehicle slam into the front passenger side of the car she was riding in one night last August. She called out to her children who were sitting in the back seat. Her four-year-old daughter responded, but her two-year-old son, Micah, who was sitting in the rear passenger seat, lay still. Before long, rescue teams pulled them out of the car and rushed them to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Micah was strapped into a car seat at the time of the accident, which many believed had initially saved his life. Still, doctors told his parents that the impact had jolted his head sideways so forcefully that his skull separated from his spine -- a condition called atlanto-occipital dislocation. Even the slightest head movement in Micah's condition could stretch his spinal cord and lead to paralysis or death. Doctors told the Andrews' he would need to operate to save Micah's life.

Atlanto-occipital dislocation, or internal decapitation, although a rare condition, is treated by surgically implanting a titanium loop to reattach the base of the skull to the spine. A piece of the patient's rib holds the rod in place.

While the procedure could inevitably result in lifelong paralysis, Micah surprised his family, and even his doctors. The two-year-old was released from the hospital nearly two months after surgery. And with therapy, he can walk and talk again. Although he struggles to regain physical balance, and with some aspects of his speech, his parents said they've seen a great improvement and have already begun to home school him.

Doctors only expects Micah's condition to improve.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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