WATCH: Smile Week's reconstructive operations giving kids a chance at better lives
This is the eleventh year that the hospital has hosted a Smile Week, with the launch attended by Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, who spoke about the initiative restoring hope to parents, who may never have been able to afford reconstructive surgery for their children.
“When a child is born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, the mothers are often so overwhelmed and don’t know how to handle the situation. When I was a midwife, I saw this so many times and, while the doctors know how the situation can be remedied, it is often funds that are the biggest obstacle,” she said.
According to Dr Alexander Zühlke, a senior specialist in the plastic surgery division at Tygerberg Hospital, the youngest child being operated on is five months old.
“The longest operation on Tuesday was around five hours, which was done on Brandon Daniels, an 11-month-old who was born with Scaphocephaly, occurring when there is a premature fusion of the sagittal suture,” he said.
Daniels underwent surgery to correct the shape of his head and to reduce the pressure on his developing brain, with surgeons reshaping the baby’s skull, in a procedure called a cranial vault remodelling.
Chantel Jansen, who is also from Elsies River, travelled to the hospital with her 18-month-old daughter, Kiara Jansen.
“My daughter was born with 12 fingers, four of them being thumbs and while my other children, Aiden, 14, Caleb, 11, and Caitlin Jansen, 7, love her so much and thought her extra fingers made her unique, I want them removed because I do not want her ridiculed at school,” she said.
Louise Snyers from Piketberg, is a mother to Luchain Snyers, who is one year and three months old, and said that her daughter would be undergoing cleft palate surgery.
“Everything that she eats needs to be soft and so this surgery will help remedy that problem,” she said.@TheCapeArgus