Chennai hospital uses new technique to treat brain stem tumour in a toddler

Two patients were operated upon at MGM Healthcare to remove tumour from the brain; an 18-month-old child from Bengaluru was diagnosed with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour

Updated - June 13, 2023 04:52 pm IST

Published - June 08, 2023 06:52 pm IST - CHENNAI 

An 18-month-old toddler from Bengaluru was recently treated for a rare, aggressive brain tumour in a city hospital.  

The child was diagnosed with atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour (ATRT) last year and was operated on at another hospital. The child was brought to MGM Healthcare in the city last month and investigations revealed that the tumour recurred in the brain stem.  

ATRT is a rare and fast-growing cancerous tumour of the brain, with half of them beginning in the cerebellum or brain stem, which controls breathing, heart rate and the muscles used for seeing, hearing, walking, talking and eating.  It occurs in fewer than 10% of children with brain tumours and is often seen in children aged below three. It can occur in older children and adults as well. 

Neurosurgery director Roopesh Kumar and his team operated on the child for four-and-a-half hours. As an intra-operative MRI revealed residual lesion, another three-hour procedure was done the next day to remove the tumour. 

Dr. Kumar said ATRT commonly presents as a brain tumour but can occur anywhere in the nervous system, including the spinal cord. “The surgery proved to be challenging for our team as it involved multiple compartments of the brain and the fact that this child had undergone surgery elsewhere last year,” he said.  

While the first surgery took around four-and-a-half hours in the evening, the second surgery was done the next morning and took three hours, he said. The child was discharged five days later and was doing well, Dr. Kumar said.  

A 58-year-old woman from a north-eastern State, who had a similar cancer, was treated at the hospital. She had developed brain stem tumour five years ago but recently she began to feel weak and soon became wheelchair-bound. Normally, such tumours were treated using chemotherapy and radiation but Dr. Kumar decided to remove the tumour that helped the patient recover faster. She began walking within three days of the surgery, he added.  

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