stem cell journey with CryoSave
Join us on this tremendous journey with Xander Vermeulen. Xander was born 10 years ago, and his parents took the opportunity to bank his stem cells with CryoSave at birth.
In November 2020, he suffered a severe open fracture on his left arm. Xander then received three surgeries for the fracture and further required a skin graft for the large open wound.
Unfortunately, the skin graft did not heal well and has left him with a wound and limited function of his arm.
Today, 10-year-old Xander would love to have full use of his arm. This unhealed fracture serves as a disability that severely impacts his everyday life.
Through partnerships with surgeons and stem cell experts, CryoSave is honoured to be able to assist Xander with the rehabilitation of his arm.
This is a great example of just one of the many uses that stem cell applications can be used for.
Stay connected with CryoSave and we will update you on Xander’s stem cell journey.
Here are some updates to his journey:
The first procedure took place
To expand tissue in Xander’s arm at the place of the scarring, a balloon-shaped expander was inserted beneath the skin in the vicinity of the injured area. This initial procedure typically takes one to two hours. The skin surrounding the expander stretches and grows as a result of the expander filling with saline (or saltwater) solution over time. The surgeon can progressively fill the expander with saline thanks to the self-sealing valve/gas cylinder that comes with it. The surgeon will closely monitor Xander on weekly visits whilst expanding the skin with small amounts of saline at a time. The expansion process will take place throughout 6 to 8-week period.
As the skin expands, the expander will make it stretch. To cure his wounded arm, Xander will have his skin “grown” in situ, reducing the possibility of rejection and scarring. Because this surgery involves the regeneration and growth of all necessary blood vessels and tissue, it is typically more effective than other grafts.
After successful expansion of the skin, Xander will undergo a second operation to remove the expander and realign the new tissue after the skin has stretched sufficiently to cover the afflicted area. Xander’s stem cells will be used in the healing and recovery process both during and after this procedure.
The first procedure is upon us
We continue to collaborate with our esteemed medical partners and have now reached a significant milestone. On Thursday, 30 November 2023, we will embark on the journey that holds the promise of permanently altering the life of young Xander Vermeulen. The anticipation is tangible as, together with our generous medical partners we prepare for the placement of the tissue expander—a beacon of hope that signifies a critical point in Xander’s path toward arm rehabilitation.
Last week, Xander was invited to our laboratory, where his stem cells have been securely stored for the past decade in anticipation of the day when they might be required. Our staff guided him through our cutting-edge facility in Pretoria East, providing explanations and demonstrations of the facility’s operations and the home of the precious stem cells that will play an important part in his rehabilitation.
With each passing day, Xander’s unwavering resilience serves as a driving force behind the journey about to start, propelling us toward the major procedure expected to take place in mid-January 2024. The exact date will depend on Xander’s progress, and the go-ahead of Dr Deon Weyers, the remarkable plastic surgeon that will conduct both procedures.
Professionals have come on-board
We are happy to let you know that we were able to involve a few of our colleagues, who are eager to participate pro bono. Kindly see below a breakdown of what they are able to offer:
Doctor Deon Weyers
Specialised Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who changes lives. Doctor Weyers is the Surgeon who will perform the reconstruction on Xander. The procedure will be done in two stages. The first stage is the placement of a tissue expander. This is in lay-mans terms a ‘balloon’ that is placed underneath the skin and once it is healed, doctor uses sterile water to ‘inflate’ the balloon. The expansion of the balloon will then result in the tissue being stretched. Once the expansion is reached, the second stage will be performed. This is where the excess skin is harvested and then placed to the area where the defect is. A specialised wound dressing will be used to aid in the healing. Doctor Weyers has offered his expertise pro-bono.
Doctor Giancarlo Cavedon
Specialised Anaesthetist. Doctor Cavedon is the big giant who will put Xander to sleep and make sure he is comfortable throughout the procedures. He will also be the one to pre-scribe post operative medication and medication to take home. Doctor Cavedon has also offered to do this at no charge.
Kelly Glazebrook Occupational Therapist
Kelly Glazebrook is an Occupational Therapist who Specialised in hand therapy. She has a passion to help children. Kelly has offered an assessment and 4 sessions of Occupational Therapy pro-bono.
Paula MacClarin Physiotherapists
Paula MacClarin has a specialised team of Physiotherapists to help with the rehabilitation post op for Xander. She has donated us with 10 Physiotherapy sessions.
Adrian Singh Orthotists
Adrian Singh and his practice will be the team to fit and donate the sling to support and immobilise Xander’s arm after the surgery.
Cure Day Clinic
Cure Day Clinic has generously offered to make their facility available for the operation and care after the first operation for the expander insertion.
We are raising funds for an additional R75,000 for the final operation and hospitalisation for the reconstruction of Xander’s arm.