|Robert Kenneth Picklesimer was born October 5, 2000 to Robert G. Picklesimer Jr. and Rebecca L. (Slater) Picklesimer of Louisville, Kentucky at Baptist Hospital East in Louisville. Robert Kenneth, whom we call Kenneth, was named after his grandfathers, Robert G. Picklesimer Sr. and John Kenneth Slater Sr. Kenneth was born with a rare genetic disorder called Jeune Syndrome and has been hospitalized since birth at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville. This syndrome affects the size of Kenneth's rib cage, which makes it difficult for him to breathe properly, and has made him ventilator dependent three days after birth. On July 31, 2001, Kenneth underwent a corrective investigational surgery called Titanium Rib Expansion. Kenneth was the 136th child to have this surgery. The surgery is part of a FDA-sponsored clinical trial known as the Titanium Rib Project and was performed at Santa Rosa Children's Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. The surgery expands the rib cage allowing room for the ribs and lungs to grow by implanting Titanium Ribs. A Titanium Rib is a bowed titanium rod with hooks on both ends that are attached to the top and bottom ribs. The ribs in-between are then cut, front and back, and pulled outward and tied to the Titanium Rib with titanium wire. The surgery is done in stages, the first stage is to implant the Titanium Rib on the right side, which was done on July 31, 2001. The second stage is to implant the Titanium Rib on the left side, which was done on December 4, 2001. It will take 12-13 months for his lungs to grow into the space created. Now that both ribs have been implanted, Kenneth will require periodic adjustments of the Titanium Ribs to compensate for his growth, typically every 6 months or so.
Click here to see pictures of his x-rays before and after his surgeries.