Life-changing epilepsy surgery means Fife boy seizure free for first time
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Angus Bain, 17, from Gateside, was diagnosed with the condition at four years old, and he has had at least one seizure every week since.
Now, thanks to pioneering new laser technology brought to the capital via a partnership between the Welch Trust, Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) and neurosurgeons NHS Lothian, his dream of having no seizures for Christmas has finally come true. Eleven weeks ago, Angus became one of the first young people in Scotland to have MRI-guided Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) surgery - a minimally invasive treatment which uses a laser to remove the brain tissue that is causing seizures.
His mum Nicki said: “Our lives have been consumed with Angus’s epilepsy since he was five. He has been on lots of very heavy medication, had wires in his head, brain stimulation, so many tests and scans. The build up to him having a seizure would last a few days, then after the seizure it would take another couple of days for him to recover, so I don’t think he’s ever actually had a normal day. He would say, ‘I just want to get rid of my epilepsy and get on with my life.’
Angus was only the second young person in Scotland to have the surgery but his mum said his recovery was fast.
“You’d never know he’d had brain surgery. It’s extraordinary that this surgery is now available in Scotland. It’s going to change so many lives. For the past 13 years, Angus has had seizures at Christmas time. I can’t even put into words what it meant to him, and all our family, for him to be seizure free for Christmas this year. He’s a remarkable boy who has shown so much resilience. His future is looking so bright, and we’re incredibly proud and excited for him.”
The LITT precision technology, now available at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP), reduces this surgery time to two hours, is much less invasive and has a shorter recovery time.
Dr Jothy Kandasamy, consultant neurosurgeon, who led the introduction of the technique to NHS Scotland, said: "For some patients, by replacing invasive neurosurgery with cutting-edge laser therapy, we not only dramatically reduce risks to these patients, but significantly reduce their recovery time too.
“The laser surgery is a fantastic development for specific patients and will give some with epilepsy a real chance to live a normal life.
The surgery has been life-changing not just for the Angus, but for the entire family. These experiences are what drive me. My patients motivate and inspire me to provide the highest level of neurosurgical care possible to change young people’s lives.”
Children will now come to the capital from all over Scotland to have the surgery.
Victoria Welch, Trustee of The Welch Trust and a former paediatric nurse, said, “We are so happy to hear about Angus’ successful procedure and so proud that the LITT technology we helped bring to the RHCYP is already changing lives. This is a heart-warming piece of news just in time for the holidays, and is also an important milestone in the Welch Trust’s commitment to advancing medical care for very sick or terminally ill children. “
Roslyn Neely, chief executive of Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, added: “We are encouraged by the life-changing impact that the laser surgery has had for Angus, and his whole family. What an incredible difference this will make to his future, and that of others living with epilepsy who can now go on to have the surgery.”