Mr Chandrasekaran Kaliaperumal
1st June 2020
My son was born with nonsyndromic sagittal craniosynostosis. It was flagged at birth, and confirmed at our first appointment with Mr Chandru Kaliaperumal when my son was around 5 weeks old.
Obviously my wife and I had been very concerned - we had no prior knowledge of the condition, and much of the information available online was either focussed on extreme cases, or was from quite some time ago where interventions were more crude and outcomes less favourable. In particular, we were very anxious to know if our son's case was syndromic or nonsyndromic - a very significant difference.
Chandru put us at ease right away, and impressed us immediately with his calm, friendly, confident manner. He explained both the condition and the recommended treatment in a very clear, understandable way. He also showed great awareness and empathy in drawing out and allaying our fears born from the online research we had done. Chandru explained the options at hand - including non-intervention - and the potential risks and rewards associated with each course of action. Whilst he was careful not to force any treatment on us, he did make a very clear recommendation for cranial vault remodelling surgery.
We left the meeting fully convinced that our boy was in great hands, and that his condition would be treated successfully.
Chandru passed on phone numbers of the parents of two patients whose children had been through the procedure, and speaking with them was very helpful and reassuring.
We had a second visit with Chandru when our son was about 9 months old, to cover any further questions we might have had, with the surgery having previously been scheduled for when our boy was 10.5 months old, in April 2020.
Unfortunately, due to the Covid19 situation, the surgery was postponed - first by three weeks. Chandru phoned us to give us the news of the delay, and reassured us that the outcome would not be negatively impacted. We got a second call from Chandru to confirm our fears - the worsening Covid19 situation had led to all non-critical surgeries being postponed. Whilst our son's operation was technically non-critical, the window for successfully correcting his deformity was a limited one, and we were very worried that we might miss it. Chandru was empathetic, and reassured us that his team would lobby to get the procedure reinstated.
Thankfully, they did, and the operation went ahead in May 2020, less than seven weeks after the initial date. The circumstances were somewhat altered due to Covid19 precautions - only one parent allowed on the ward at any one time, no sleeping on the ward, face masks at all times on the ward, etc - which did add to our anxiety. The day prior to the surgery, I met Chandru's colleague, Mr Gallo, who talked me through the procedure and the associated risks. Again, I felt we were in good hands, and he seemed both highly capable and empathetic.
The surgery was a complete success (with the caveat that I write this only two weeks post-op, but doctors and patient alike all seem very happy!).
Our son spent four nights on Ward 7, and we felt he was looked after very well. He had very significant facial swelling after about two days - which was expected, and we had been forewarned about - but overall he bounced back remarkably quickly. Chandru had repeatedly insisted that we would be amazed how quickly our boy would get back to normal, and he was absolutely correct.
In terms of outcome, the positive impact of the surgery is already visible. Our son's face is significantly rounder already, with the mid-temple pinch already much less prominent. His head is already notably rounder from above, and the prominent protrusion at the rear has been significantly minimised. According to Chandru, as his head continues to grow over the next two years, it will become increasingly round to the point where there will be little or no evidence that he ever had sagittal craniosynostosis.
The craniofacial service provided by Chandru and his team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Kids in Edinburgh has been absolutely top class, and we couldn't be happier with the outcome for our son.