Doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital will be using part of a four year old's own rib to rebuild his throat after he accidentally swallowed a button battery from a remote control. Emmett Rauch swallowed the quarter-sized battery on his first birthday.
The battery became stuck in his throat and burned a hole through his esophagus. Rauch was no longer able to breath or speak on his own. He also has trouble eating.
While using a tracheotomy to assist his breathing, Dr. Alessandro de Alarcon, director of the Center for Pediatric Voice Disorders at Cincinnati Children, details in a press release, "If all goes well, the trach tube will be removed within the next year. He [Rauch] wants to play soccer, so we think he'll be able to do that and play other sports if he wants, which is important for his childhood development," reports Fox News.
According to Fox News, Cincinnati Children's doctors used part of Rauch's colon to repair the hole (in the esophagus) two years ago. He's "undergone extensive swallow therapy" to learn how to eat on his own.
The rib-graft will hopefully spread apart his vocal cords to reopen an airway and restore their use. Rauch's mother Karla said in a press release, "The airway surgery will be preparing him to go to mainstream school next year – kindergarten," Fox News further reports. "He will start voice therapy where he will learn to adapt to his newly repaired vocal cords. It will also give him a safe and secure airway.”