Preston Tassi, can finally smile after innovative surgery

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Preston Tassi, can finally smile after innovative surgery
Preston Tassi, can finally smile after innovative surgery

Preston Tassi was born with a rare neurological condition called Moebius syndrome, that affected his ability to smile. Had to use his hands to move his mouth and show he was smiling. Thanks to a special surgery at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Preston can now smile without using his hands.

In February, Preston underwent the final end of a two-part facial animation surgery in which surgeons at St. Louis Children’s Hospital removed nerve muscles from his inner thigh and inserted them into his cheeks.

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“It’s scary having your little one under anesthesia for 10 hours or more,” Sarah says, noting that Preston underwent the first portion of the surgery last August. “There were a lot of emotions.”

It can take several months for the surgery to produce a smile, hospital staff said in a statement. But just three months after the final surgery (two weeks before his 6th birthday), Preston was able to sport a wide grin. Sarah says she’ll never forget seeing her son smile for the first time.

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“It was Mother’s Day, we were in Kansas City with his cousins. There was a birthday party and somebody was like, ‘Preston, let me take a picture of ya.’ And he turned around and he grinned at them,” Sarah recalls. “It was just amazing. It’s the little things you take for granted. I broke down and cried.”

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