Patient Stories 18 Feb 2024 Back to Stories

Innovative Awake Surgery Cures Patient’s Debilitating Tremors

An advanced yet complex brain surgery allows a young woman to regain control of her life.

Uncontrollable tremors were severely impacting the physical and emotional aspects of Keerthana’s life. Thanks to the availability of an innovative ‘awake’ brain surgery in the UAE, she was able to regain control of her future.

In 2017, Keerthana noticed a slight shaking in her hand when out to dinner. Over the next few years, the tremors began to worsen. Doctors assured her there was nothing to worry about, but her concerned family decided to seek the advice of a specialist and met with the neurology team at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

Scans revealed a deep lesion in Keerthana’s brain which was causing the shaking. Thanks to the extensive facilities within Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Neurological Institute, which aren’t widely available in the region, the team were able to carry out numerous investigations including sophisticated imaging and 3D modelling of her brain. The advanced testing allowed them to quickly determine that Keerthana’s condition wouldn’t respond to medication and that surgery was the only option.

Keerthana underwent an innovative, yet complex ‘awake’ surgery called thalamotomy. After reaching the lesion in the brain whilst asleep, the patient is woken so they can cooperate with surgeons. Heat is applied to destroy the tissue that is causing the tremors, and the patient is asked to perform movements so the surgeons can continually assess the results, only stopping once they are confident that the shaking has ceased.

Keerthana was moved to recovery, and it was clear that her tremors had completely stopped. Since the surgery, an overjoyed Keerthana has regained controlled of her life and looks forward to continuing her education.

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