Today was the day to see the Neurosurgeon. We took Kaiden to the Southern General Hospital for his appointment with Miss Jennifer Brown FRCS. We had heard from staff at the Southern that she did not have a good bedside manor, but that could not be further from the truth. She is just a strait talker, and by the time you get to see her, that is really what you need.
Figure: The Boy – Kaiden is a happy boy who is frustrated at not walking
She does not want to do a Shunt as she considers that the old way of doing things, but instead prefers to do endoscopic neurosurgery to go in through the high side of Kaiden’s head and make an incision in the top of the cyst. She will then push the endoscope into the cyst and make an incision at the bottom creating a channel for the fluid to escape.
Figure: The Arachnoid Cyst – The cyst is blocking fluid like a plug
If that does not work, which she thinks it will, she would do a second surgery to put in a shunt. Shunts tend to have a much greater chance of infection and rejection as you would have a little tube going from your brain al the way to your stomach. A Shunt can also be blocked and contains a little valve that can brake.
She answered all of the questions we put to her with compassion and with no nonsense that we can all associate with ignorance and uncertainty.
There is a 1% chance of major complications and by that Jennifer talked of cranial bleeds of which she has only seen 2 in 25 years of neurosurgery. There is also a 10% chance of minor complications but they are all manageable.
Figure: The Hydrocephalus - Fluid build up behind the cyst
Jenifer can’t give any guarantees that Kaiden’s gross motor skill will improve once the procedure has been completed as damage to those sections of his brain may already have been done, but she is confident based on previous cases that the outlook is good. At worst there should be no further exacerbation of the hydrocephalus and thus no more damage incurred. As Kaiden is so young it is difficult to tell what is late development due to damage and what is late development due to…well..being a lazy boy. In saying that she is very certain that being over six months behind in his gross motor skills is due to the hydrocephalus and the cyst.
Figure: The Pirate – At Kaiden’s first birthday he was a pirate
Baring any emergencies she plans to do the operation within 4 weeks which is fantastic news for anxious parents wanting things to start moving and but also fills us with fear and hope for the outcome.