What to Know
Three baby boys on Long Island were the first triplets to ever get a surgery to help fix the shape of their heads
The boys were born with a rare condition, craniosynostosis, that caused their heads to be misshapen
They will wear helmets for a few months as their heads reform; they are expected to leave normal lives
Mike and Amy Howard may mix up their triplets from time to time — the boys’ faces are partially hidden by helmets. But those helmets are helping to reshape the babies’ heads.
The three boys were all born with abnormally shaped heads, a result of a rare condition probably never before seen in triplets.
“Maybe one in 500 trillion to see a set of triplets who looked like these three,” Dr. David Chesler said.
The condition, craniosynostosis, caused the boys’ skulls to fuse too early, squeezing their brains and restricting brain growth.
“It was really extremely scary,” Amy Howard said. “Thinking about having your eight or nine-week-old baby going through surgery.”
Without the surgery, the condition could have blinded the boys or reduced their IQs.
“He’s got this almond or wedge-shaped head,” Chesler said, pointing to a photo of one of the boys before the surgeries. “That’s now gone.”
The boys went to the operating room on consecutive days last January. Doctors said it was the first time the surgery had been performed on triplets.
“Everything right now is right where it should be,” Amy Howard said, knocking on a table. “They’re doing great.”
The boys will have to wear helmets for the next few months but are expected to lead normal lives. Meanwhile, Mike and Amy have found a way to tell the three apart with those helmets on: look to their socks.