Eighteen-month-old Grace and her parents were visiting friends in Connecticut when Grace fell and hit her head. On the car ride back to South Jersey, she vomited, one sign of brain trauma. Driving in unfamiliar territory with a malfunctioning GPS, parents Valentina and Andrew blindly searched for a hospital and, as fate would have it, found Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
Grace needed surgery to stop the bleeding in her brain, and even then, the medical team wasn’t sure if she’d survive or fully recover. Thankfully, she was in the hands of leading pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Richard C.E. Anderson and did survive. Two years later, Grace is a smiling, vibrant 3-year-old.
Recently published research by Dr. Philip Meyers and co-authors sought to untangle quite the knot. Dural arteriovenous shunt, a rare disorder, is a tangle of blood vessels in the brain—and treatment options have long been unclear. So, Dr. Meyers and others developed six straightforward recommendations for neurosurgeons to follow when treating arteriovenous shunts.
Kelly’s pounding headaches finally made sense when she was diagnosed with a Chiari I malformation, a condition caused by a deformity of the base of the skull. But her condition was unique—and something Dr. Guy McKhann had never seen before: a man-made Chiari malformation.
Kelly had an acrylic plate, placed there after surgery when she was a child, that was pressing on her brain. With the help of Dr. McKhann’s relentless care and her own perseverance, Kelly overcame and is now running half marathons.
The Gamma Knife, despite its name, is not a knife and doesn’t make a literal cut. It is a machine that focuses beams of gamma radiation on the targeted area in the brain. The Gamma Knife is a good alternative to surgery in carefully selected cases because most patients can go home the same day as the procedure, often heal faster and are less likely to get an infection.
Also, the Gamma Knife can treat areas of the brain that cannot be safely reached during surgery. And Columbia was one of the first in the area to bring this technology to patients. Brain tumors, arteriovenous malformations (blood vessel disorders), epilepsy and more are all on the Gamma Knife’s list of treatable conditions.
New York City holds a rich history for neurosurgery. It is the home of several “firsts,” one being the first place brain tumor surgery was attempted in the United States.
In an article published in the Journal of Neurological Surgery, Department Chair Dr. Robert Solomon takes readers back to when neurosurgery was born—before the advances and knowledge we use today. He explains that much of the legacy of neurosurgery resides within the walls of our home, Columbia.
Learn more about Dr. Anderson at his bio page here.
Learn more about Dr. Guy McKhann at his bio page here.
Learn more about Dr. Philip Meyers on his bio page here.
Learn more about Dr. Sisti at his bio page here.
Learn more about Dr. Solomon at his bio page here.
Learn more about Columbia Neurosurgeons and the Department of Neurosurgery at Columbia here.
Image Credit: ©[GLady]/pixabay
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