Naperville boy undergoes successful surgery for TEF in Boston

Two-year-old Owen Brenna from Naperville at Boston Children's Hospital
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Two-year-old Owen Brenna from Naperville underwent successful surgery for tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) in Boston on Tuesday.

Successful surgery in Boston

Owen’s father, Graham, said surgeons addressed all of Owen’s medical issues while only using his original surgery entry point. This meant no new scars were created.

“They successfully removed the fistula from his trachea which had reconnected to his esophagus, causing liquids to enter his lungs,” said Graham Brenna in a Facebook post Tuesday night. “They restructured his trachea, effectively curing his tracheomalacia. Lastly, they moved his right subclavian artery from behind his esophagus to the correct location in front of his trachea.”

Owen is currently recovering from surgery in the intensive care unit. Doctors expect he will make a full recovery and go on to live a normal life.

Graham said his family will most likely return to Naperville after the holidays.

“It all depends on when he gets discharged,” said Graham Brenna. “We’re planning on probably staying in Boston for another week or so.”

Owen’s medical issues

Owen was born with TEF. At three days old, he had a corrective surgery to connect his esophagus, which was completely disconnected, leaving him unable to pass food down to his stomach.

It’s estimated that TEF affects 1 in every 3,000 to 5,000 births in the United States. Approximately 50% of babies with TEF have another congenital condition, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Owen has overcome battles with tethered cord syndrome and intestinal malrotation, but recently he’s been hospitalized with pneumonia and recurring fistulas.

Graham and his wife Allyson found a solution at Boston Children’s Hospital, where their doctors have conducted hundreds of surgeries for children with TEF. He was admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital on Nov. 30.

Graham’s sister Margot created a GoFundMe for the family’s medical expenses.

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