Family from the Netherlands travels to Denver for pediatric surgery

DENVER (KDVR) — Caitlin and Andres Rosales are grateful that their 3-month-old baby, Mila, is doing well after surgery for a rare lung condition she was born with.

The couple from the Netherlands traveled to Denver so that Mila could undergo surgery at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

“To be here now, we couldn’t be happier,” Andres said.

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When Caitlin was 20 weeks pregnant, the couple was told the baby had a condition called CPAM, or Congenital Pulmonary Airway Malformation.

“It’s not genetic. They don’t know exactly what causes it, but it’s essentially a part of her lung that hasn’t formed properly and it turns into this kind of cystic tissue that can become a problem later in life if she gets a lung infection or even something simple as a cold,” Caitlin said.

So the couple did their research and decided to fly to Denver so the baby could be operated on by Dr. Steven Rothenberg, the chief of Pediatric Surgery at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

Rothenberg advocates performing the surgery when the baby is very young to avoid inflammation, infection and a risk of cancer.

“Then you let the rest of the lung have compensatory growth so that these kids have completely normal lung function even though they’ve lost part of their lung,” said Dr. Rothenberg.

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While other centers can make a large incision in the chest, Rothenberg makes three small incisions and uses special telescopes, cameras and instruments.

“We have this wonderful magnified view of what it looks like in the chest, and then we developed these special instruments that allow us to do this surgery safely,” Rothenberg said.

He said the babies can recover quickly and the scars will be barely visible in a year.

Mila’s surgery went well and the family is now looking to the future.

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