Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sean was Admitted to Ward 64 Southern General Hospital

This morning we had a chat with our Surgeon Mr Mathison and we have decided the best way forward  for sean was to have a Stereotactic Brain Biopsy and then have Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy.

The children visiting dad and seeing him for the first time as a patient

Saying bye was hard we just wanted to kidnap him home

Sean waving madly from the third floor


A stereotactic brain biopsy is a surgical procedure. Its purpose is to obtain a small specimen from a specific part of the brain so we can tell you what condition you have. If the concern is that you may have a growth, the biopsy is intended to determine if it is a benign or aggressive tumor, and if it started in the brain or spread there from another part of the body. This in turn determines what treatment would be appropriate for it.

You should eat nothing after midnight on the evening before the procedure. Otherwise, there is no special preparation.

You come into the admitting area of the hospital early on the day prior to the biopsy. You will fill out some paperwork, and then be transported to either the MRI or CT scan area. An intravenous line will be started. Then a metal frame called a "Leksell head frame" or "BRW frame" is attached to you by Dr. .

The frame is difficult to describe. It is a metal device (see picture) that weighs about three pounds that you can easily see through. It attaches to the head with posts that are advanced through the frame to put pressure on the scalp and head. Two posts are in the front (in the forehead), and two are in the back of the head. You have this frame on for several hours, and any discomfort from the posts will be relieved with Novocaine.

A CT scan or MRI scan is then obtained. This takes about 20 minutes. You will then be transported to the operating room while dr analyze the scan and make calculations as to how the biopsy will be taken. In the operating room, you will lie on the operating table, and the frame will be secured to it. An area about the size of a postage stamp is shaved and cleansed with soap solution to prevent infection.

After these preparations, the biopsy itself begins. We numb a small area of the skin with Novocaine. A small nick is made in the scalp, and using a very small drill, a hole about the diameter of a piece of spaghetti is made in the skull. A biopsy probe is advanced through this to a pre-determined spot in the brain. We take a small specimen about the size of the kernel of rice. This is  processed and looked at under the microscope by the pathologist.We will give the results in about a week.

The pathologist will tell us one of three things: (1) they know immediately what the diagnosis is, (2) they will almost certainly know in a few days what the diagnosis is, (3) they would like us to obtain more biopsies. The usually tell us (2).

If the pathologist tells us we need to take more biopsies, we will do so. Otherwise, the procedure is over. The biopsy probe is removed, and a single stitch is placed in the skin that will dissolve on its own. The frame is removed and you return to your room. From the time you enter the operating room to the time you leave is usually 45 minutes.
On returning to your room, you should feel largely back to normal. Some people have a mild to moderate headache on the evening of the procedure.

The nurses will watch you for several hours. If all is well, we will obtain a CT scan to determine if there has been any internal bleeding or new swelling at the biopsy site. If all seems well, you are free to leave at your convenience that same day. We will arrange a time to review the biopsy results.

You can shower and wash your hair as you normally would the day of the biopsy. The stitch will dissolve over about 2 weeks and does not need to be removed.

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