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Lviv neurosurgeons perform brain surgery on 4-year-old girl from Northern Ireland

Wednesday, 17 April 2024, 13:07
Lviv neurosurgeons perform brain surgery on 4-year-old girl from Northern Ireland
Rachel Gribben from Northern Ireland. Photo: First Medical Union of Lviv on Facebook

Lviv paediatric neurosurgeons have performed complex brain surgery on a 4-year-old patient from abroad who suffered from severe seizures. The seizures threatened the child's life and had halted her development.

The First Medical Union of Lviv said that this is the first time a patient from abroad has been operated on at the Centre for Neurosurgery and Epilepsy Surgery. Rachel Gribben's family travelled 3,000 km in search of medical care.

"When Rachel was 18 months old, her parents noticed developmental delays. She also had minor body twitches. A few months later, she suffered her first severe seizure.

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Doctors diagnosed epilepsy with epileptic spasms. This is a type of seizure that causes charges throughout the brain. The doctors also found focal cortical dysplasia, that is, poorly developed gyrus of the brain, which was causing the seizures," the doctors say.

 
Rachel Gribben from Northern Ireland.
Photo: First Medical Union of Lviv on Facebook

Over time, little Rachel's seizures became more severe and more frequent. Despite the use of anticonvulsant therapy, the seizures were hindering her development.

American neurosurgeon Luke Tomycz told Rachel’s parents that 80-90% of her seizures could be relieved by surgery. He advised them to seek help from doctors in Lviv. Despite the threat of missile attacks, Rachel's parents travelled to Ukraine.

The doctors conducted a full examination in Lviv to determine the exact location of the epileptogenic activity. They found a zone that coincided with the area of malformation, i.e. cortical pathology.

Having gathered all the information, the neurosurgeons started planning the surgery, as it was crucial to choose the safest way to access the affected area of the brain.

 
Lviv doctors treated a young patient from abroad for the first time.
Photo: First Medical Union of Lviv on Facebook

The operation took seven hours and was successful. The doctors say that the intervention achieved the desired result: the seizures have completely stopped and will no longer delay Rachel's development. The little girl has already returned home.

Background: Earlier in Lviv, doctors saved a newborn baby whose lung was covered with cysts. She could have died at any moment.

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