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Child Has Surgery at Wolfson Children's Hospital to Disconnect Left from Right Brain to Help Control Condition Causing Hundreds of Seizures a Day
Date:11/23/2013

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Nemours pediatric epileptologist Raj Sheth, MD, medical director of the Level 4 Pediatric Epilepsy Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, explains: “Because of Malichi’s lack of response to medications and dietary changes over the years, the team recommended surgical intervention.”

UF-Jacksonville pediatric neurosurgeon Philipp Aldana, MD, medical director of the Lucy Gooding Children’s Neurosurgery Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, started with the placement of a vagus nerve stimulator. “This is a small pacemaker-like device that is surgically implanted below the skin on the upper chest,” says Dr. Aldana. “ It delivers a small, steady electrical current to the vagus nerve, the large nerve in the neck that leads directly into the brain. The goal was to reduce the number of seizures Malichi was having, if possible.”

Unfortunately, the stimulator did not significantly impact Malichi’s seizures, so the team recommended epilepsy surgery to Christina and Troy Bell. “It took us a while to come to terms with this and decide to do it,” says Christina. “We were worried about all the things that could happen during surgery, but we got to the point where he was having hundreds of seaizures and day and we knew it was always going to be this way if we didn’t proceed. He was getting hurt because of the drop attacks, which happened multiple times a day, and he had no quality of life, so we had to overcome our fears.”

On October 24, 2013, Dr. Aldana and UF-Jacksonville pediatric neurosurgeon Alexandra Beier, DO, performed a type of epilepsy surgery on Malichi called corpus callostomy at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. “We went in between the two halves of the brain and disconnected the corpus collosum, the fiber bundle that connects the left and right side of the cerebral hemispheres,” says Dr. Aldana. “In a case like Malichi’s where he’s severely affected by cerebral palsy and seizures, the disconnection actually helps the function of the br
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