Life-threatening: Eight-month-old Jia Jia (pictured) from China was born with an abnormally-shaped skull
The Chinese toddler was compared to an alien by the media due to his rare skull defect.
He has however been given life-changing surgical corrections to look more like his parents and more ‘human’.
According to Daily Mail, the eight-month-old boy, from China’s Jiangsu province, had his skull cut open and bones reshaped in the four-hour-long operation in order to treat his condition, named craniosynostosis.
Doctors had planned the surgery in detail using a 3-D printed model of the child’s skull – a step that provided significant help with the incisions, reported People’s Daily Online.
Successful operation: Doctors cut open his head and had his bones reshaped.
Jia Jia was seen before (left) and after (right) the four-hour-long surgery
Craniosynostosis is a rare condition that causes a child’s skull plates to fuse together.
The illness leads to intracranial pressure, which could prompt headaches, blurred vision and breathing problems.
According to the People’s Daily report, the toddler, known by his nickname Jia Jia, had been diagnosed craniosynostosis shortly after his birth due to his abnormally shaped head.
The child is from Jiangsu in eastern China, but he recently received the four-hour-long surgery in the nearby city of Shanghai, which has better medical resources than his home province.
Bao Nan, a director at Shanghai Children’s Medical Centre and the chief surgeon of Jia Jia’s operation, said 3-D technology had given them unprecedented help.
Doctor Bao said he and his colleagues had made a life-size model of Jia Jia’s skull before cutting open his head and reshaping the skull.
The team had made a step-by-step plan of the operation on the 3-D model, including where and how to make the incisions on Jia Jia’s head.
The surgeon said every case of craniosynostosis is unique, and in a traditional operation doctors are only able to see the exact shape of the skull after they cut open the patient’s head.
He added that the 3-D model had also enabled the doctors to re-shape his head in a way that allowed his facial features to look like his parents’ as much as possible.