Chapel Hill, N.C. — A newborn Wilmington boy has become the youngest and smallest patient in the world to undergo robotic surgery.
When Raiden Jewett was born on Nov. 13, his first breaths of life sounded odd.
"They thought he was just congested, because he was making this weird noise," his mother, Brandie Jewett, said.
The usual attempts to clear a baby's airway, though, didn't work. A benign cyst just above the vocal chords was the real problem.
The standard surgical approach for such a problem involves making an incision in the neck to insert a breathing tube in the airway.
"Putting a tracheotomy in that child does change the experience and a significant chance of risk for the parents and child," said Dr. Adam Zanation, a head and neck surgeon at UNC Children's Hospital.
Instead, Zanation and pediatric otolaryngologist Dr. Carlton Zadanski offered to do a procedure that uses a DaVinci Robot and avoids a tracheotomy.
The surgeon controls the robot and uses its small instruments to work in an extremely narrow space. Three robotic arms insert a breathing tube through the child's mouth, and a laser fiber cuts out the cyst.
Zanation said his team at UNC Children's Hospital has done five pediatric airway surgeries in the past 18 months, but Raiden was the youngest to have robotic surgery in the world.
"It went fantastic," his father, Nathan Jewett, said.
"He's done really good. He's been really strong," Brandie Jewett said.
Raiden took 33 days to heal and become able to feed normally, and his parents were cleared Monday to take him home.
"It will be the best Christmas present you could get," Nathan Jewett said.