Monday, April 2, 2007
Medical Reports: Brain Beam
There's a new option for children who need brain surgery. 7's Christine Cruz shows us this cutting edge solution that doesn't involve any cutting.
WSVN -- Kenny Tinsley loves to play the board game Life with his mom.
Kenny Tinsley: "I borrow $100,000."
But a year ago, Kenny was fighting for his own life after he was struck by a severe headache.
Veronica Tinsley: "They took him up for an MRI and came back and told me he had a bleed on the brain and that it was quite serious, and that he might not make it through the night."
An abnormal tangle of blood vessels in his brain was causing the bleeding.
But because the problem was so deep, doctors couldn't operate on Kenny.
Their only option was gamma knife surgery, which involves no cutting.
It's a radiation treatment that's been used on adults for more than 20 years, but it's brand new for kids.
Dr. Amanda Yaun: "Very easy treatment for the children. They don't really experience any pain, any fear, any discomfort."
During the one-hour procedure, precisely targeted beams of radiation destroy problem areas without damaging the surrounding tissue.
The biggest downside is that patients often don't know for months or years if gamma radiation is working.
But, so far, there's a 90 percent success rate.
Kenny Tinsley: "It's hard to believe that one sweep of gamma knife will fix it, but if it does that really is a revolutionary way to get rid of it."
As for Kenny, he's back to playing Life, instead of fighting for it.
Kenny Tinsley: "I feel blessed. I feel lucky. I'm going to live my life to the fullest now."
Christine Cruz: "Doctors say if the first try doesn't work, a second gamma knife procedure dramatically increases a child's odds."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Children's National Medical Center
111 Michigan Ave., N.W.
Washington DC 20010