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Girl Has Radical Surgery for Face

May 29, 1999

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Doctors using a 3-D model of a 5-year-old girl’s skull spent 11 hours in the operating room repositioning her lopsided face, using bone grafts, metal plates and screws.

A replica of Paige Raczynski’s skull allowed surgeons at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children to plan precisely how and where to make incisions, how much bone grafting would be needed and in what shapes.

Paige was born with craniofacial microsomia, a genetic condition that caused the bones on the left side of her face to be underdeveloped or undeveloped. She is missing some of her cheekbone and her jaw bones and muscles grew abnormally, giving the left side of her face a sunken appearance.

The disorder occurs in about one of every 5,600 births.

Paige has trouble eating, speaking and hearing. She was diagnosed with the condition immediately after birth and has undergone 24 surgeries since she was 5 months old. The major effort Friday, completed without complications, could mean no more surgeries until her teen-age years.

``The reason we’re doing this is to improve her eating ability and speech,″ said Dr. Adrian Lo. ``But we are also improving her appearance to get her looking as normal a child as possible.″

The kindergartener’s surgical incision was made behind her hairline, so she will have minimal scarring. Doctors hope she will recover soon enough to attend her kindergarten graduation on June 9.

``She’s a trooper,″ said her father, David Raczynski.

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