Family from the Netherlands travels to Denver for pediatric surgery

Local News

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

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

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

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 are not exactly sure what causes it, but It’s essentially one portion of her lung did not form 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 as simple as a common cold,” Caitlin said.

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

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

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

While other centers may make a large chest incision, Rothenberg makes three tiny incisions, and uses special scopes, cameras and instruments.

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

He said the babies are able to recover quickly and in a year, the scars will be barely visible.

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

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