The Drs: What Is Moebius Syndrome?
A young couple shared that they were watching The Doctors when the woman’s water broke. Their son Maddox was born, and they could tell right away that something was wrong, because he let out a very weak cry. He also wouldn’t suck or latch on, and had no facial movement. Doctors told them they thought their son had Moebius syndrome, which meant he had the inability to frown, blink, lateralize his eyes, or smile, and he had limited tongue movement.
For the first nine months of his life, Maddox was fed through feeding tubes. He’s had multiple surgeries, including a surgery to fix his crossed eyes. Maddox interacts more with adults than kids, because kids tend to stare at him. He can’t use his tongue to eat, so he has to use his finger to move food around in his mouth.
The Drs: Correcting Inability To Smile
Charlie and Danielle, Maddox’s parents, joined The Doctors. Dr Drew Ordon said talking about the facial nerve not only lets you express emotions, but also affects all kinds of other things, like keeping saliva in your mouth and sucking. Danielle said they’ve learned to compensate for anything he lacks. They said Maddox smiles through his heart.
The Doctors sent Maddox to see a specialist and found out what options were available to him. They were told that Maddox was a great candidate for facial reanimation surgery.
The Drs: Smile Reanimation Surgery
Dr Andre Panossian joined the show and explained that he’s developed a new technique where he moves the biting muscle that everyone has, disconnects it, and rotates it to tunnel it all the way down underneath the skin and connect it to the corner of the lip. He said delivering muscle control allows a lot more options to coordinate the movement of food and articulation.
Charlie said he would give everything he has to see his son smile. Dr Andre said ever since he heard the story, he was moved and touched by the love and caring Maddox’s family has shown. He said it’s an elective surgery so he knows it’s hard to put their kid through that. He wanted to donate his surgical services free of charge to the family.
The Doctors then welcomed Maddox to the show and Charlie gave Dr Andre a big hug.