Namine’s yearly appointment with her cranial-facial doctor was bittersweet; he’s retiring, so today we said goodbye.

Dr. Denny has followed Namine for a long time, being responsible for both her cleft palate repair and jaw distraction, two of the most harrowing procedures Namine has undergone.

When Namine had the jaw distraction, we were told that there was the possibility that she would need the procedure repeatedly. Sometimes major surgery on a child will interrupt growth, and when that happens, growth needs to be simulated by surgery.

Fortunately, that never happened. Namine only ever needed the one distraction, which (along with the cleft palate repair) allowed her to be decannulated. Now, of course, she can speak and eat all on her own. This may seem like a small, inconsequential thing, but it’s all thanks to Dr. Denny and his cranial-facial team.

Looking to the future, Namine once again needs a jaw-related procedure: this time, a jaw expansion. The distraction elongated her lower jaw, but the expansion will widen her upper and lower jaws, making room for her adult teeth. Dr. Denny told us that while Namine may need another jaw distraction once the expansion is done, it’s not common. Since her jaw has grown well on its own in the time since the first procedure, he doesn’t think it’s likely.

This post is part of the timeline: Jaw Expansion – an ongoing story on this site. View the timeline for more context on this post.