Hollywood Repeats Life

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Remember the television program “The Coneheads” of a few years ago? Hollywood exaggerated it, but there really are children born with distinctly cone shaped skulls. In fact, this is only one of a variety of congenital deformities of the head. Until a few years ago, little could be done for these children. This was especially sad because many of these children are of normal intelligence, and their awareness of their plight makes their suffering more acute. However, a French plastic surgeon named Paul Tessier showed that the human skull, could in effect, be taken apart and reassembled. Eyes that were too far apart, producing an almost lizard-like appearance, could be moved closer together. Bone could be removed where it was in excess, and added where there was a shortage. While the problems Tessier was trying to treat are very rare , the techniques he developed have given rise to improved methods of treating more common defects caused by accidents and cancer. Ironically the pioneering work of Tessier and other surgeons would be really impossible to do in the
U.S. where our legal system has stifled innovations.

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