Isabella came into the world with her twin brother Jackson at just 34 weeks gestation, and although it was a little early her parents Simone and Greg were overjoyed with two healthy babies.
But a few weeks after Isabella was born her parents noticed she would cry when laying on the back of her head.
The twins were involved in a study for postgraduates at The University of Wollongong, when one of the students suggested Isabella may have Saggital Synosis, a condition where the suture of the skull closely prematurely stopping it from growing.
Simone and Greg were referred to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead where Isabella would need surgery to expand her skull so her brain could grow.
“The day of the operation, walking from Ronald McDonald House was the longest walk ever, me holding my tiny baby not giving her that last feed before they took her away through the doors was the most scary day my husband and I had been through,” Mother Simone said.
Coming out of the operation Isabella had low oxygen levels and was struggling.
“Her brother Jackson was struggling without her too and I asked Dr Gates if we could bring him in and I placed him right beside her – his little hand held hers and within 30 minutes her stats began increasing, we were amazed.”
“Life for Bella started the day she had her operation.”
Clinical Nurse Specialist Imelda Behringer said Isabella was one of the first patients to receive this type of surgery using a spring to help expand her skull.
“A spring cranioplasty involves two surgical procedures, the first involves a cut to the skull bone in the region of the fused suture and placing the springs in position to expand the skull, the second procedure, much shorter procedure is performed to remove these spring approx. Three moths after they were inserted,” she said.
The Craniofacial unit at Westmead has been using springs to treat Sagittal and Bicoronal Synostosis for the last 10 years, the advantage of the spring assisted Cranioplasty is that it is less invasive then other traditional methods to treat the same conditions.
10 years later Isabella is thriving and has just been signed off from attending the Craniofacial team.
Isabella is now a soccer superstar and a competition dancer and says she has never let her surgeries hold her back.
“I’m beautiful the way I am.
"Having had surgery hasn’t stopped me doing anything I’ve wanted to do, one thing I do know is that from the bottom of my heart I’m very grateful for the surgery that Dr Gates and Dr Marucci performed on me, that was my life changing miracle.” Isabella said.