Nearly 5,000 children in the United States will be diagnosed with a brain tumor this year. New technology is now helping doctors remove these tumors and save children from additional surgery.
Willie and Pleshette Young know raising five kids isn’t easy, but nothing could have prepared them when Willie Young Jr., 6, got sick.
“Out of nowhere it was, ‘I’m having headaches, dad. I’m having headaches, mom,'” said Willie Young Sr.
A CT scan detected a life-threatening situation. Willie Young Jr. was rushed to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami for emergency surgery.
“He had a lot of pressure on his brain from a mass that was growing in the center of his brain,” said Dr. Toba Niazi, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Doctors had to remove the tumor right away. It often takes more than one surgery. Now intraoperative MRI, or iMRI, is changing that.
“What this technology does is it brings MRI imaging – direct imaging of the brain without radiation – into the operating room,” said Dr. John Ragheb, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
The iMRI allows doctors to check their work during or right after surgery.
“If there’s a piece of that tumor that’s remaining that we weren’t able to discern during surgery, then we can go in and take that last piece out,” Niazi explained.
That helps prevent the child from requiring another operation and anesthesia.
“Any sort of lesion in the brain, I think this really needs to be the gold standard,” Niazi said.
Thanks to the iMRI, doctors were able to remove most of Willie Young Jr.’s tumor without causing damage.
“I just thank God and the technology that was used during the surgery to bring our baby back,” Pleshette Young said.
Doctors say they will continue to monitor the child’s condition very closely to see if further treatment is needed.
Published 40 minutes ago | Updated 5 minutes ago