A set of triplets in the US has made medical history after all three babies born with the same condition had life-changing surgery.


New York couple Amy and Mike Howard were shocked but thrilled when they discovered they were having triplets.


Triplets Jackson, Hunter and Kaden Howard were born on October 22, 2016. Hunter and Jackson are identical twins, while Kaden is their fraternal brother.


Soon after the birth, it was apparent that something was wrong. All three triplets were born with craniosynostosis, a rare condition which causes premature fusion of one or more cranial sutures in the skull, often resulting in an abnormal head shape.



All three babies’ heads were sloped at the back. “Jackson could not lay on his head. He’d always have to have his head to the side because his skull was protruding so much from the back,” mum Amy told Today.


Dr David Chesler is a paediatric surgeon who operated on the boys. He said he and his team couldn’t find any other reports of triplets all born with craniosynostosis.


“Your skull is made up of plates, it’s not a single bone,” Chesler told Today. He outlined the possible health issues associated with the condition: “If the seams join, the brain can be put under pressure... That can be detrimental to the brain, the vision, the life of the child. It’s not imminently life-threatening, but it can cause real consequences down the road.”


The condition affects one in 2500 babies, making the occurrence of craniosynostosis in all three siblings a super-rare medical anomaly. The chance of all three triplets having the condition is one-in-500 trillion.



The newborns spent their first weeks in an intensive care unit (ICU) in Stony Brook Children’s Hospital under the observation of a medical team, before surgery.


The ground-breaking corrective surgery is called an endoscopic surgery, meaning that doctors defused the plates in the heads with small incisions, rather than open-skull surgery.


The three separate surgeries took place over two days in January. Chesler made small incisions on each of the boys’ heads and, using an endoscope and a harmonic scalpel, cut out a strip of bone to remove the fused seam.


The babies must wear special helmets for 23 hours, three months on from the surgery to aid recovery. Dad Mike said his initial fears over the surgery going wrong have diminished.


“That was my main concern - was it going to cause brain damage, or I worried about his eyesight, but it all turned out great,” he said.

The shape of the boys’ heads is completely back to normal, which mum Amy called ‘amazing’.