Spring 2013 Issue

From The Dominican Republic To Charlotte
Providing World-Class Care To Patients From Across The Globe
photos of Dr. McLanahan and Damian.

Two-year-old Damian Vargas made the trip of his life this year when he and his mother, Rosa, flew to Charlotte

from the Dominican Republic. He came to undergo lifechanging cranial surgery to correct trigonocephaly, a premature fusing of his skull that caused his forehead to be triangular in shape. Damian was first diagnosed last October by neurosurgeon Scott McLanahan, MD, of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates during a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. The trip was sponsored by the World Pediatric Project, and Damian was identified as a US referral candidate because medical resources in Santo Domingo were not adequate to safely perform the necessary surgery.

“We’ve now taken five mission trips to assist the medical team at Robert Reid Cabral Hospital in Santo Domingo. With each visit, we’ve treated dozens of children suffering from a wide range of neurosurgical conditions,” said Dr. McLanahan. “In Damian’s case, performing this surgery in the Dominican Republic was not an option.”

Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates partnered with the World Pediatric Project, Levine Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House locally to cover the costs of Damian’s procedure, travel and housing. Damian underwent cranial vault reconstruction surgery this January.

Dr. McLanahan performed the procedure with assistance from David Matthews, MD, a pediatric plastic surgeon from Charlotte. Dr. Wharen Sanchez, a pediatric neurosurgeon from Santo Domingo, also came to Charlotte to observe and learn about the surgery. He will provide care for Damian back home. The surgery was successful, and Damian and his mother were able to return to Santo Domingo just a few weeks later.

“Had Damien not had his craniofacial reconstructive procedure, he would very likely have been limited by his deformity in his social and intellectual development,” said Dr. McLanahan. “There is also the possibility of secondary physical problems involving vision, hearing and eating.”

Dr. McLanahan and his team plan to return to the Dominican Republic for another mission trip in September.

To learn more, call 704-376-1605.

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