There is new hope for patients with brain tumors. In this edition of Healthy Living, YNN's Katie Gibas tells us about a new procedure as an alternative to open surgery.
One in 6,000 children are born with tuberous sclerosis.
"We've been through a lot with her. This disease, I don't know if you guys are familiar with it. She can grow tubers or benign tumors on any organ in her body. She has them on her brain, her heart, and we just found out she has them in her kidneys as well," said Jennifer Failla, mother of a patient.
Until recently, the only option for her daughter Arianna was open surgery that required a craniotomy and radiation. The surgery requres weeks in the hospital followed by months of recovery.
"Usually, when you do open surgery on a patient, as you can imagine, these patients are sore. They are not themselves. They don't feel well because they have had a big procedure," noted Dr. Zulma Tovar-Spinoza, Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital Pediatric Neurosurgery Director.
Now, there is relief for Arianna and her family. Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital in Syracuse is the first center in the world performing MRI guided laser ablation.
A small incision is made in the skull and then doctors use a laser to destroy the tumor. The new surgery is safer and can even be done as an outpatient procedure.
"She has been able to go home, just a couple of days after without disrupting the family life and without disrupting cognitive development or having any traumatic event for the patient or the family," said Dr. Tovar-Spinoza.
"By the afternoon, she was eating. She was acting herself. She was also interacting. She has more focus. She's able to imitate, and she's actually starting to pretend play," explained Failla.
Doctors hope to be able to use this procedure for other tumor-related disorders in the future.