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Persistent Headache was Due to Brain Tumor in a Young Filipino

Persistent Headache was Due to Brain Tumor in a Young Filipino

A 39-year-old Filipino male working in the UAE, underwent successful brain surgery at Fakeeh University Hospital’s Surgical Institute.

Having suffered from occasional bouts of headache for the past 2 years, the young Filipino had been seeking medical assistance ever since. He had been prescribed medication for the frequent headaches with temporary relief. Since the headaches were not frequent and did not severely disrupt his life, he carried on with his normal routine. Until one day when he felt an external lump on the right side of his head. The young man then visited Fakeeh University Hospital, Dubai Silicon Oasis to consult with Dr. Tommaso Tufo, Lead Consultant of Neurosurgery - Brain & Spine.

A CT scan of his brain confirmed that he had a mass/tumor in the brain. Upon further investigation of the brain’s condition, an MRI revealed a brain tumor that was infiltrating the skull and causing severe compression on one side of the brain. The tumor was identified as the likely cause of his frequent headaches.

“A craniotomy or brain surgery is undoubtedly a very complex undertaking. A case like this is a very uncommon occurrence, after all it started as a simple headache, but the investigations later revealed a brain tumor. The tumor also seemed to have rapidly grown over the course of two years. If left untreated the tumor could later spread and led to much more severe complications,” said Dr. Tommaso Tufo, Lead Consultant Neurosurgery - Brain & Spine at Fakeeh University Hospital.

The young patient underwent a Minimally Invasive Craniotomy for removal of the tumor at FUH’s Surgical Institute. The surgery lasted 3.4 hours  but it involved a very small incision on the right side of the head and did not require shaving off his hair.

The surgery led by Dr. Tommaso Tufo included a multi-disciplinary approach with a team of dedicated and experienced anesthetists, Intensive & critical care team for post-operative care.

During the surgery, the tumor was removed, and the bone defect was treated through removal and reconstruction of the defective skull bone with a titanium mesh. The tumor was in the parieto-occipital region, the part of the brain that controls movement and vision. In this specific case, the tumor was not infiltrating the brain, hence an ‘asleep craniotomy’ was performed with intraoperative monitoring, a tool for monitoring the motor function during the surgery.

One of the main challenges of brain and skull surgery is removal of as much of the tumor as possible without severely damaging normal brain tissue, which demands skill, experience, advanced technology, and a dedicated team.

Committed to bringing life-altering changes for patients through a combination of surgical expertise and state-of-the-art technologies, FUH’s Surgical Institute offers the highest level of care and compassion to patients.

The young Filipino was at the hospital for 2 days and returned to his routine life soon after.

More about the condition

Bone and soft tissue tumors originating from the skull bone are rare, making up < 2% of all musculoskeletal tumors. Skull bone tumors exist as a distinct entity because they include multiple subtypes, have complex regional anatomical structures, and require interdisciplinary therapy. In some cases, bone tumors can have a mass effect on the brain.

Surgery is the first line of treatment for most brain and skull tumors. The goal of the surgery includes

  • Complete removal of the tumor
  • Partial removal of tumors near sensitive areas of the brain to relieve symptoms and facilitate or increase the effectiveness of other treatments
  • A biopsy to confirm the diagnosis (including tumor type, malignancy, and grade) and recommend the most appropriate treatment. A small sample of a brain tumor is removed for examination under a microscope.
  • Skull defect repair or cranioplasty, is a surgical procedure to close the bone defect using artificial material and in selected cases dedicated 3D-printed artificial bone customized for the patient.

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