Caleb was born with a nasal dermoid cyst. Because superficial dermoid cysts are typically slow-growing and can be removed without complication, Calebâ€™s treatment plan appeared to be pretty straightforward.
â€śWe would go in for normal checkups and our doctor would just tell us to keep an eye on it and let us know if there were any changes,â€ť explains Tina Ragaller, Calebâ€™s mom. â€śWe planned to have it removed once he got older for cosmetic reasons.â€ť
But when Tina and her husband, Doug, took Caleb to a plastic surgeon, they found out the condition was more complicated than it seemed.
â€śAfter reviewing the CT scan, the plastic surgeon saw there was more involved than just a dermoid cyst,â€ť says Tina. â€śIt looked more invasive. He said that even with his 33 years of experience he didnâ€™t feel comfortable removing Calebâ€™s. He felt there was more involved, so he referred us to Mayo.â€ť
â€śWe met with Dr. Patterson first to see if there was anything wrong with Caleb neurologically. There wasnâ€™t. The cyst wasnâ€™t affecting his movement or anything else, so then we had his MRI done,â€ť says Tina.
That afternoon, Nicholas Wetjen, M.D., neurologic surgery, reviewed Calebâ€™s MRI results with the family.
â€śHe said there was a cyst, but it was growing inside of Calebâ€™s skull,â€ť recounts Tina. â€śAt that time he said they would have to have an ENT physician take a look, too.â€ť
The next day, Caleb was seen by Dana Mara Thompson, M.D., pediatric otorhinolaryngology. After being seen by Drs. Patterson, Wetjen and Thompson, Caleb was recommended for surgery.
â€śDr. Wetjen and Dr. Thompson teamed up for the surgery,â€ť remembers Tina. â€śDr. Wetjen worked on more of the skull area, and Dr. Thompson did the nose part of the surgery. It lasted 9.5 hours. We were emotional. We were scared. It was one of the longest days of our lives.â€ť
But it was worth the wait. Calebâ€™s surgery was a success.
The Ragallers returned to Mayo for a postoperative appointment three months later, and were given more good news. The surgeons had effectively removed the cyst, and Caleb would not need to return for further treatment.
Today, Tina happily reports that Caleb is a very healthy boy who loves to run around and play with his twin brother, Carson.
â€śOther than a scar down the front of his nose and one on his head, you would never know he went through all that,â€ť says Tina. â€śThe physicians did a phenomenal job and we were fortunate that we were close enough to be able to drive to the Mayo Clinic.â€ť