Memphis doctors perform world's first voice box reconstruction

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- 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, WMC Action News reported.

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. "We can just sit back and think how strong he is."
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