We’re Looking at Surgery for Natalie

We met with our neurologist and the neurosurgeon at Primary Children’s on Thursday. We’re proceeding towards surgery but have to get a neuro-psychological evaluation and a pediatric ophthalmologist to measure her vision field cut before we go back. Neurosurgery will meet with us again on March 3, and I expect that’s when they set the date for surgery. I think the surgery is called a corpus callosotomy. The basic procedure is for the surgeon to disconnect the two halves of the brain by making two incisions in the corpus callosum. Most of Natalie’s right temporal lobe is already gone from the stroke she had. The right hemisphere is where the majority of seizures are taking place, so turning that side “off” gives us a 70% likelihood of stopping the seizures completely, and a 90% likelihood of significant reduction in seizures. Her memory and speech shouldn’t be affected by the surgery, or will be minimally affected. There will be a complete left field vision cut (she will be blind on her left side). Her left side paralysis will continue and may worsen after the surgery, but should improve back to her current range of motion with some rehab.

The doctors don’t think her personality will be affected.

The surgery takes place over one day. She will stay in ICU overnight, and if all goes well she moves to another room but stays at the hospital for about 10 days before she can go home. There will be a drain for fluids after surgery, with the main complication from surgery being Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) where a shunt would have to be implanted to control excess brain fluids.

The surgeon said that he does about two of these surgeries each year, and has been doing this form of surgery for the last 18 years.