A Breath of Relief

August 9, 2018

Cutting-Edge Minimally Invasive Lung Surgery Offers a Cure for Freehold Newborn

By Donna Sellmann

When Freehold residents Janis and Matt Masino brought home their baby boy, Jaxson, the elation of having a newborn in their arms was more emotional than what most new parents experience. A year earlier, they had suffered the devastating loss of their daughter, who was stillborn. In the weeks that followed the birth of their second child, joy soon turned to concern as they began noticing that little Jaxson was breathing heavily, and they could visibly see his trachea move in and out with every breath. Despite spending 10 days in a nearby NICU, they didn’t get any answers.

AN INNOVATIVE OPTION

Then they sought the help of Nader Nakhleh, D.O., a pulmonologist at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, who diagnosed the then 2-month-old Jaxson with congenital lobar emphysema. This condition causes air to enter the lung that cannot escape, thereby causing overinflation of the lobe. Jaxson’s overinflated lung was pressing on his heart and normal lung, causing him to have trouble breathing. Dr. Nakhleh consulted with Victoriya Staab, M.D., pediatric surgeon and medical director for Pediatric Trauma at The Children’s Hospital, who immediately scheduled an urgent surgery to treat Jaxson’s life-threatening condition.

Dr. Staab performed The Children’s Hospital’s first newborn minimally invasive lung resection, using state-of-the-art, highly specialized tiny pediatric surgical instruments to remove a lobe of Jaxson’s lung. This type of surgery on newborns is performed only at the top children’s hospitals in the country. “It is extremely exciting and rewarding to bring complex, minimally invasive pediatric surgery to residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties,” says Dr. Staab. “These types of cutting-edge surgeries provide the same quality of care as more invasive techniques but through smaller incisions, which result in shorter hospitalization, less pain and less scarring.” Other benefits include lower rates of complications such as wound infections and chest wall deformities, and better cosmetic results.

GRATEFUL FOR EVERY MOMENT

Jaxson went home just four days after surgery and made a quick, full recovery. His parents are extremely thankful for the team that properly diagnosed their son’s condition and performed the surgery.

“Jaxson is such a fighter,” says Janis. “Dr. Nakhleh and Dr. Staab were wonderful, and we feel so lucky to have such incredible care close to home.” Having a special appreciation for Jaxson’s clean bill of health, Janis and Matt are cherishing every moment with their son.

CHILD-FRIENDLY SURGICAL SERVICES

The family-oriented pediatric surgery services at K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital include a variety of specialties. For a full list, visit HackensackMeridianHealth.org/KHOVSurgical.