Laser surgery to the brain changes her life

News 18 January, 2018
  • Photo Pierre-Paul Poulin
    Maude Couture, aged 19 years, was hiding out or participate in activities for fear of having a seizure in front of strangers. Thanks to its laser operation, she can now leave this fear behind her.

    Hugo Duchaine

    Thursday, 18 January, 2018 01:00

    Thursday, 18 January, 2018 01:00

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    A teenage girl from a Laval was able to return to a normal life thanks to a new laser operation that has destroyed his brain tumor without that it would have been necessary to open the skull.

    The first laser surgical for children-Canada, at the Sainte-Justine hospital, has destroyed the benign tumor that were affecting him the past two years. Gone are the seizures that occur without warning that terrorized Maude Couture.

    “I was obsessed with the idea of making a seizure [epilepsy], I was afraid to go. I didn’t want it happening to me at the cégep in front of the whole world, in the transit, I was just thinking about this, ” says the young woman of 19 years, holding back a sob.

    But all that changed last September, when the neurosurgeon Alexander Weil has slowly burnt his tumor of a square centimeter with the laser. Maude Couture spent 13 hours on the operating table.

    It is a new technology that uses the Sainte-Justine hospital over the past year, thanks to a gift of $ 600,000 from the body Curling to the children.

    Without this laser, the tumor of Maude Couture was inoperable according to the doctors.

    It was located deep in the middle of his brain, almost between the eyes and the ears, and too close to the area responsible for language. The operate in opening the skull would have been able to make him lose this ability.


    The young girl felt her first symptom two years before the laser procedure. Arriving at the college in the company of his father, she had nausea when she got home at.

    She collapsed in front of his father, in the middle of the room, completely paralyzed on her right side and unable to speak.

    His family and doctors were initially believed to be a STROKE. But after six days of hospitalization, it was announced that she had a seizure and that she had a brain tumor.

    She returned home, the teenager has had to stop training water polo and say goodbye to his travel plans and his desire to get his driving licence.

    The first medication she took to control the epilepsy are quickly proven to be too powerful. Unable to concentrate, it has had failures in its first session of cegep, to her dismay.

    Without hesitation

    She, however, was seizures for about three weeks and was in tears after each of them.

    When Dr Weil has suggested laser operation, it has signed on-the-field.

    “I had thought all summer, I was ready, and I wanted it to end,” she said. She was sure of her choice despite the nervousness of his parents.

    A week after the operation, she insisted to resume his courses at the college.

    Extremely grateful for this opportunity to return to a normal life, she has the head full of projects. She wants to start the sport, learn to drive, and most importantly, fly to Prague… as soon as she finishes her last session in college.


    A technology “revolutionary” for the patients

    Photo courtesy

    Alexander Weil

    The laser surgical for children is a technology ” revolutionary “, according to the doctor at the hospital Sainte-Justine, which was used six times in the last year.

    “This is a game changer. Children who were ineligible for surgery because of the risks may now be [made], ” says the pediatric neurosurgeon Alexander Weil.

    Until recently, he was the only specialist the country to be able to use this technology, including a hospital in Toronto has also made the acquisition. He has learned how to use it during a training in Miami, Florida.

    The tool allows him to treat brain tumors, cancerous or not, or masses that can lead to seizures.

    “It burns, it is a thermal damage “, he explains.

    More precise

    “It is much more accurate and much less invasive,” says Dr. Weil.

    No need to open the skull and attempt to remove a tumor with instruments, for example.

    The laser, he says, may look similar to the gammaknife, it is also used to kill without instrument tumors in the brain. But this one works with radiation, unlike the laser, which is safer for children.


    How does it work ?

    Photo courtesy

    • A 4 mm incision is made in the head of the sleeping child.
    • A rod 3 mm wide, with the laser at the end, is inserted to go to reach the area to be treated.
    • It also allows you to see live imaging of magnetic resonance (MRI) route in the brain.
    • The sensitive areas of language, motor skills, memory, and the view located in the brain are better protected.
    • The laser is less invasive, after 48 hours, the child can return home.