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Born With an Anorectal Malformation, Peyton Gets a New Lease on Life

Born with a severe anorectal malformation, infant Peyton Thomas needed extensive care and the highest level of expertise. Our Pelvic and Anorectal Care Program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta changed his life.

Toddler playing with Legos

Lyn Thomas was volunteering at a special needs orphanage in China when she met Peyton. She couldn’t help but bond with the toddler, who suffered from a birth defect called an anorectal malformation.

In Peyton’s particularly serious case, he was born without an anus.

For two years, Peyton had lived with the aid of an ostomy, a surgically created opening in the body that allowed for the discharge of stool, requiring the constant presence of a colostomy bag.

A mother’s love

Upon returning to Atlanta, Lyn began the process of adopting Peyton. On Mother’s Day, 2014, she received confirmation: She would be Peyton’s mother.

When Lyn brought Peyton home, she was at the mercy of the logistics of her new son’s condition. “I had to change the colostomy bag every hour, and sometimes it would leak,” Lyn said. “I was scared to leave the house with him because the care was ongoing.”

A new beginning

That summer, Lyn brought Peyton to the Pelvic and Anorectal Care Program at Children’s. There, he was evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of pediatric surgeons, gastroenterologists and urologists. Upon further examination, Peyton was diagnosed with a tethered spinal cord—a condition that demanded surgical intervention.

First, Peyton underwent a neurosurgical procedure in the care of Barunashish Brahma, MD, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Children’s. Then, Peyton’s care team embarked on the next phase of his treatment plan. Guided by MRI, Raschbaum, MD, a Pediatric Surgeon at Children’s, was able to surgically create and properly position an anus.

As he healed, Peyton still relied on a colostomy bag. But his ostomy was closed, and he was feeling better than ever.

Making progress

Later, a 4-year-old Peyton participated in the Pelvic and Anorectal Care Program’s first-ever Bowel Management Booty Camp—a seven-day outpatient program for children dealing with fecal incontinence.

In cases like Peyton’s, children can struggle to have regular bowel movements. Booty Camp provides medical and surgical care to help kids gain control of their stool and achieve a better quality of life.

One of the nation’s leading gastroenterology programs

Children’s is home to one of the leading pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition programs in the country. Our multidisciplinary team treats infants, children and teens with a wide range of conditions, from reflux to inflammatory bowel disease to fatty liver disease.

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