For 1st time in Syria,Hemispherectomy surgery for patient with drug-resistant epilepsy

Damascus, SANA_ A new unique surgery is registered recently for the health sector in Syria and for the medical staff at Damascus Hospital (Al Mujtahid), despite the limited capabilities, due to the economic blockade imposed on the country.

A medical team at the Department of Neurosurgery at the Hospital has succeeded in conducting a new unique surgery that is performed for the first time in Syria, which is the removal of a cerebral hemisphere for a patient with drug-resistant epilepsy.

The neurosurgeon specialist Dr. Turfa Baghdadi said in a statement to SANA that a six-year-old child was admitted to the hospital because he suffers from the symptoms of the so-called “Rasmussen’s encephalitis”.

After making all the diagnostic procedures for his condition, the decision was taken to undergo hemispherectomy surgery, Dr. Baghdadi said.

He explained that after the surgery, the child got rid of the epileptic seizures that accompanied him most of the time and became able to walk and speak better.

The Doctor mentioned that in such rare cases, half of the brain should sometimes be removed so that the other half could work properly and the body in general relax from the burden of dysfunction due to the sick cerebral hemisphere.

The patient is now in a good condition and is under observation in the hospital for receiving necessary drug treatment and physical rehabilitation.

Rasmussen’s encephalitis (RE) is a very rare, chronic inflammatory neurological disease that usually affects only one hemisphere (half) of the brain.  It most often occurs in children under the age of 10 but can also affect adolescents and adults. It has features of an autoimmune disease in which immune system cells enter the brain and cause damage.

RE is characterized by frequent and severe seizures, progressive loss of neurological functions including motor skills, speech, and eventual paralysis on one side of the body (hemiparesis), inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), and mental deterioration.

Children with RE frequently enter a phase of permanent, but stable, neurological deficits after 8 to 12 months; the disease in adults and adolescents may continue to progress slowly.

These cases are rare in the world, and the incidence of it reaches 6 to 8 people out of 40 million people, according to global statistics.

According to Dr. Baghdadi, a number of resident doctors in the hospital’s neurosurgery department participated in the surgical work, saying that the correct diagnosis of the case, which was made at the Children’s Hospital in Damascus, as well as choosing the appropriate time for the surgery, contributed to its success.


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