Jose Daniel (Danny) Lozano, a teenager from Tijuana, Mexico, is one of many children who have received medical care made possible by a highly specialized medical team at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and a $5 million-dollar gift to the hospital from actor and director Mel Gibson.

Lozano had lost his right eye when he was hit by a taxicab in Mexico in 2000, and physicians there addressed it as best as they could at the time, but the way it healed left his face with a significant deficit. He suffered extensive injuries to the right side of his skull because of the accident. The stigma resulting from the deformity prevented him from attending school for 5 years.

“As in all secondary reconstructions, there was a lot of scar tissue that had to be removed initially and bleeding to be controlled,” says Moise Danielpour, MD, director of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Program at Cedars-Sinai’s Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute. “The dura [dura mater, the outermost membrane covering the brain] was absent in much of the injured area, so I had to create a dural patch graft to protect the brain and to prevent spinal fluid from leaking.

“We reconstructed the cranium and the base of the skull to make it more prominent and anatomically correct, using a titanium plate that we molded and shaped to create a type of scaffolding. We then coated the scaffolding with a material made of hydroxyapatite [the primary mineral component of bone], commonly called ‘bone paste’ or ‘bone cement’ that functions much like bone.”

The physicians say they are pleased with the outcome of the surgery and hope that it’s going to be as “life-altering” as they think it will be.

[www.newswise.com, July 21, 2006]