An Infant’s Journey from a Partially Formed Skull to a Full Head of Hair

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Ten fingers and toes. Will they have my eyes and daddy’s nose?  Expecting moms imagine every precious feature of their unborn child while they patiently wait for baby’s arrival.  Two years ago, one local mom never imagined she would give birth to a baby missing the backside of his skull’s skin and bone.  Yet, in August of 2019, Nicole’s beautiful 5-pound baby boy, Daxton, arrived and gave her the scare of a lifetime.

“We were eager to walk out of the hospital with our healthy baby boy, but nothing could have prepared us for what happened in the delivery room. Everything went silent and I knew instantly something was wrong” said Daxton’s mom, Nicole. Faced with the unimaginable, Nicole and Daxton were transported to AdventHealth for Children in Orlando where their team of elite neuro and plastic surgeons were met with a scenario they had never encountered.

Cutis Aplasia is a very rare condition that occurs in 1 in every 1,000,000 babies. Without bone and skin to protect the brain, Daxton was at extreme risk of infection or hemorrhage which could have resulted in death. “When Daxton first arrived, he was in a rough spot, and we were very concerned about the large defect he had” said Dr. Rajendra Sawh-Martinez, Medical Director of Plastic Surgery at AdventHealth for Children. 

During Daxton’s four week stay in the NICU, Dr. Sawh-Martinez and pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Kaveh Asadi, worked closely with Nicole and her husband, Matthew, to develop a care plan.  Daxton’s parents did not want him to undergo any invasive surgeries, so Dr. Sawh-Martinez and Dr. Asadi pioneered a regenerative technique that would allow Daxton to heal himself. “While it had not been done before, their willingness to step out of the box and our willingness to take the risk has allowed Daxton to pave the way for a better option for babies in the future,” shares Nicole.


Daxton just celebrated his second birthday, and not only has he formed skin and bone where there was none before, he’s even started growing hair!  Watch his awe-inspiring story and amazing transformation here.








Today and for the rest of my life, the entire staff at AdventHealth for Children will have an extremely special place in my heart. Their innovative techniques, exceptional care and dedication has allowed us to celebrate Daxton on his second birthday. Dr. Raj and Dr. Asadi, you are my heroes!!” says Nicole.




To learn more about AdventHealth for Children’s elite craniofacial and plastic surgery team, please visit 


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