This year, January 13 was a Wednesday with no particular promises to be much of a day. In spite of that, for a handful of people, ordinary people like the most of us, this 13th of January meant everything.
A new beginning – and this is not a cliché.
Because on this particularly Wednesday, a tumor, as big as a duck egg, was removed from the head of a two year old through a hole the size of a stamp.
Yes, a duck egg, you got that right! Clench your fist and take a look at it. The tumor was approximately that size.
The team operating on the child with the help of a neuronavigation system was formed by two neurosurgeons, M.D. Sorin Târnoveanu and M.D. Ionuț Gobej, together with the anesthesiologist Adriana Guriță. This is a premiere at the Marie Curie Hospital.
It is a premiere also for Andrei, the two year old boy diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma, a severe form of brain tumor that had already occupied half of his left hemisphere. The operation using neuronavigation, a cutting-edge and minimal-invasive surgery, was the only viable solution. The little patient, who weighed just 8 kilograms, had previously underwent two classical surgeries, two attempts to remove the tumor which measured, according to the tridimensional investigations, 8 cm / 7 cm / 8 cm. The size of a duck egg.
This is why M.D. Târnoveanu, neurosurgeon at the Marie Curie hospital, decided to use the new neuronavigation system in order to operate Andrei on the morning of January 13.
At the end of 240 minutes filled with tension, the two surgeons, using the neuronavigation system as a guide, succeeded to clear the huge tumor, to save the brain functions and to minimize the impact on the brain structures of the little patient. Even the incision that the neurosurgeons have made in the child’s scalp is small – only 5 centimeters.
Andrei lives and the 13th of January became so important to him, it could almost be mentioned on his birth certificate. He is now under medical supervision and will continue the specific cancer treatment. He is the first patient to undergo a brain tumor surgery at Marie Curie with the use of neuronavigation, a minimally invasive technology. Interventions performed like this represent an extra chance at life for the Romanian children diagnosed with brain tumors.
Neuronavigation is a computerized platform that shows a 3D image of the cranio-cerebral structures of the patient on a HD monitor, in real time. The system is similar to a GPS.
With the help of the neuronavigation system, neurosurgeons benefit from the precision, control and visualization needed to completely remove tumors, while saving brain functions with a minimal impact of the surgery on the brain structures. Also, the duration of the operating time is shortened considerably.
By using assisted neuronavigation during surgery, the neurosurgeons are provided with a 3D image of the patient’s anatomy and the exact location of surgical instruments relative to the patient’s brain, thus enabling them to remove brain tumors with particular precision.
The equipping of the „Maria Sklodowska Curie” Emergency Hospital for Children with a neuronavigation system is an initiative of the Vodafone Romania Foundation in partnership with Asociatia Inima Copiilor as part of the Mobile for Good program.