Thanks to the quick response by surgeons, a boy can smile and truly express himself. Surgeons helped repair Jax Cannon's facial nerve damage caused by an accident, letting him smile again.
Jax Cannon, 2, severed three branches of facial nerves in a household accident when he was just 17 months old. While the family was home on a Saturday evening, Cannon leaped from an ottoman in the family's living room towards his father on the couch. Unfortunately, Jon Cannon could not react in time to the rambunctious toddler and Jax crashed into a glass his father was holding.
The shattered glass caused severe bleeding and deep gashes on the left cheek of Cannon. The accident left Cannon's face paralyzed and if not treated right away he may have never blinked, squinted or smiled again.
Thanks to quick work by surgeons from Packard Children's Hospital Cannon is smiling and living a happy and expressive life. Cannon was rushed by paramedics to Sequoia Hospital and his wounds were treated by Dr. Steven Struck who stitched up the gash but could not treat the nerve damage. Dr. Struck referred the family to the Packard Hospital for treatment.
The surgery was led by Dr. James Chang and Dr. Rohit Khosla from Packard Children's Hospital. The facial paralysis experts immediately scheduled surgery and the procedure began 60 hours after Cannon's accident. Time was of the essence because the nerves begin to degenerate after 72 hours.
The surgeons opened up the wounds and tested nerve function using a stimulator. The nerves that control facial movement start from the brain under the ear, travel along the jaw and splits off into five different branches. For Cannon, three of these branches were cut while two were bruised but intact. The researchers had to stitch the nerve branches back together using stitches thinner than a single human hair.
The surgeons also had to repair a torn salivary tube which carries saliva into the mouth. The entire surgical procedure took four hours to complete and Cannon spent two nights in the hospital to recover.
The surgery took place in September and since that time Jax has been making a full recovery. Jax can now blink, squint and raise his eyebrows and the surgeons believe he will live a normal and healthy life.