MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CNN) — A team of Tennessee doctors made history by successfully completing the world’s first voice box reconstruction – changing a 2-year-old boy’s life.
Doctors at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital were able to create a voice box and airway for Cooper Kilburn using a part of his ribs.
Cooper was born with congenital high airway obstruction syndrome – meaning his trachea and larynx were blocked and he had no way to breathe or speak.
Cooper’s mother Brooke was in a car accident when she was 17 weeks pregnant and found out about her baby’s diagnosis during an ultrasound after the crash.
A first surgery wasn’t successful so Cooper was taken to Le Bonheur in Memphis.
Using part of Cooper’s ribs, doctors created a voice box and airway for him – something that has never been successfully done before.
Five months later, Cooper is beginning to make noises and only uses a ventilator at night.
“One day Cooper is going to be telling this and we’re not gonna have to,” said Brooke Kilburn.