arachnoid cyst part 3 — what will happen during treatment

I managed to grab the text from google’s cached results, so I’m re-posting the entries on arachnoid cyst here.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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we met the neurosurgeon on 12 Dec to inform him our decision.

the surgeon had done some academic research on sen’s (extremely rare) case and there were only two documented cases of such large arachnoid cyst. both were adults in their 70s or 80s. like sen, the discovery of the cyst was incidental as these patients did not experience any symptoms at all.

sigh.. this actually caused further confusion for us. so people can live to a ripe old age with the cyst in their brain. what would happen if we go and disturb the cyst?

nevertheless, we had already made up our mind on this so there is no turning back now :’)

the surgeon briefed us on the treatment options available:

 

  1. fenestration – an open surgery where an open is created on the cyst wall to create a channel of communication. this allows the fluid from the cyst to be drained out gradually and get re-absorbed into the surroundings. this is the preferred method as it has the highest success rate.
  2. shunting – a simple surgical procedure to embed a device (shunt) to drain the fluid from the cyst. low risk but implant is prone to failure and there is tendency for the rate of draining to be too fast, resulting in complications.
  3. endoscopic cyst fenestration – a minimally invasive surgery where the cyst is opened up using an endoscope. like shunting, this is a simple procedure that is minimally-invasive and has a very short downtime, but it doesn’t come with any shunt-related complications. it also has the added advantage of high success rate like fenestration.

the surgeon’s preferred option was the first one. he would have favoured the endoscopic cyst fenestration but for sen’s case, the cyst is too big and having an open surgery would be a better option.

besides the normal surgical risks, the surgeon also has to watch out for the over-stretched optic nerve and many other nerves and blood vessels near the site where the cyst opening needs to be made. although the surgeon is very experienced and the structure of nerves and blood vessels is largely similar in normal people, sen sen’s case would be more challenging as the structure of his brain has been affected quite significantly due to the cyst.

after the 2-4 hour procedure, sen will spend a night or two in the ICU (Intensive-Care Unit). he will then proceed to stay in a HDU (High-Dependency Unit) for another 1-2 nights, depending on his recovery, before being transferred back to a normal ward, where he will spend another 7 nights or so. while the superficial wound would take about 2 weeks to heal, his skull may take 2 months or more to completely heal. after healing, there may be a permanent cavity in his head due to the shrinking cyst.. and so he will have to stay away from contact sports for the rest of his life. i am fine with it, as long as he is safe and healthy :’D

anyway, after the long discussion with the surgeon, we went for a “counselling session” where the hospital staff gave us some briefing on what to prepare for the surgery, and how deep we need to dig into our pockets to finance the treatment, among other things.

it was such a loooong day for us..

how i am coping so far

work has been keeping me busy in the last few weeks and thankfully this means that my mind is too pre-occupied to have any negative thoughts or unnecessary fears.

yes, shit happens.

but i certainly hope it doesn’t happen to my baby.

please take a minute to pray for my precious..

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