Gaten Matarazzo, the 17-year-old actor who plays Dustin Henderson in Stranger Things, took to social media to share some images from the hospital ahead of a surgery he is undergoing for cleidocranial dysplasia, a rare skeletal disorder that impacts the growth of his bones and teeth (and which has been written into Dustin's character on the show). Unsurprisingly, fans and co-stars have been chiming in under Matarazzo's Instagram post to share words of encouragement and wish him well on his fourth surgery, which he calls "a big one" in his post, which also urges his fans to read up on the disorder.
In addition to his role on Stranger Things, Matarazzo is a host on Prank Encounters, his second major Netflix gig. He had previously said that he believed his cleidocranial dysplasia made it more difficult for him to get parts before Stranger Things made him a familiar face, suggesting that his lisp, height, and teeth all worked against him in auditions, Yahoo! notes.
You can check his post out below.
"Cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD) is a skeletal disorder characterized by open fontanelles (soft spot), small or absent clavicles (collarbones), and multiple dental abnormalities. It is a genetic birth defect caused by mutations to the RUNX2 gene. It occurs one in every one million births. It can be passed from an affected parent or can be a random mutation. Manifestations may vary among individuals in the same family.
"The gene causing CCD is the RUNX2 gene and is found on the 6th chromosome. The 6th chromosome has 1,048 protein coding genes, the RUNX2 gene is one of these. Cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD) is caused by heterozygous loss-of-function mutation in the RUNX2 gene on the 6th chromosome. The mutation to the one gene can be: 1) passed from an affected parent 2) can be a new or random mutation. CCD is an autosomal dominant trait. This means the gene affected is on an autosome (one of the 22 pairs of chromosomes that is not the sex chromosome). It only takes a single abnormal gene (not an abnormal chromosome) from either parent to cause an autosomal disorder."
We're wishing Matarazzo the best in his surgery and hope for a quick recovery for the star.
Stay tuned for details on Season Four of Stranger Things, which begins filming early this year and will theoretically be on Netflix by year's end.