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Little Bentley Yoder didn’t get the greatest start in life, he was born with a rare condition called cranium bifidum which meant that part of his brain grew outside of his skull. Bentley’s parents Dustin and Sierra Yoder, from Sugarcreek in Ohio had been told about his condition when Sierra was pregnant.

Doctors didn’t have much hope for Bentley and predicted that he wouldn’t live long after he was born. His parents decided to go on with the pregnancy though even if it was just to say goodbye.

“We were excited to meet him, even if it was only for an hour,” Sierra Yoder told The Washington Post. “We were just relieved he made it that far and we would get to meet him, living and breathing.”

But they didn’t have to say goodbye, because over the coming months Bentley developed normally except for the fact that part of his brain was outside of his skull. It baffled doctors as to how he’d survived like this. Still, he couldn’t live like that forever, so his parents set about finding brain surgeons who could undertake a procedure to put his brain back into his cranium.

After searching across the country they found Dr. John Meara at Boston Children’s Hospital who was willing to do the brain surgery. Dr. John Meara and his team practiced the complicated procedure using 3D-printed models and then on May 24th they performed the operation—after five hours it had been a success.

Bentley’s parents were beyond relieved and incredibly proud of their little boy. As for his future, no one knows exactly what will happen because his case is unprecedented, but they’re very hopeful. “Because of how different his brain really is, they have no one to compare him to,” says his mother.

But the doctors have told her “he will have a rewarding life. We just have to take it step by step.”

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