“Stranger Things” star Gaten Matarazzo is getting his fourth cleidocranial dysplasia surgery.
On Wednesday, Matarazzo took to Instagram and shared a photo of him in the hospital with a thumbs up as he headed into surgery for his cleidocranial dysplasia. Cleidocranial dysplasia is a rare genetic disorder that affects the growth of a person’s bones or teeth. “Surgery number 4! This is a big one!” his post read.
The 17-year-old actor didn’t go into more detail about the process, but PEOPLE reports that Matarazzo has had several surgeries on his mouth. However, he revealed that he has a “very mild case” of cleidocranial dysplasia. “There’s a one in a million chance that you have of getting it — most likely you get it from a parent, but it just happened for me. I have a very mild case, so it doesn’t affect me as much, but it can be a very difficult condition to have,” the actor said back in 2016.
The actor said the disorder has gotten in the way of his acting career. “It’s one of the reasons why I haven’t been getting roles, because of my lisp, and the teeth situation, and my height. That affected pretty much everything. I would go three times a week for auditions all the time and get constant ‘no,’” he said in 2018, during a visit on the show “The Doctors.” While the disorder held him back from some roles, it made him perfect for the hit Netflix series.
“It really started out when I was stretching in the audition room,” he said. “They were like ‘Wait, wait, wait what did you just do?’ and I said, ‘What? I’m stretching,’ and they said ‘No, do it again, and they said ‘Why do you do that? Your shoulders are touching.’ … So I started explaining what it was and how I had a condition from birth that affects my teeth and everything. That’s why I was missing teeth in the first season, and I still have my appliance in right now.”
Matarazzo helps educate people about cleidocranial dysplasia in collaboration with CCD Smiles, a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for others with the condition, PEOPLE reports. “The feedback has been great,” he said, explaining how ”Stanger Things” helped bring light to his disorder. “A lot of people were messaging me saying, ‘You made me feel better about myself, that you can show that you have this condition on TV and embrace it.’ I feel like I’m raising awareness for it. It makes me feel good.”