Catheter Number Five

This surgery (#22) ended up taking a little over six hours.  The CT scan they did yesterday wasn’t done right, so they had to do another one during the procedure.  Here’s what was done.  First, the catheter on the front left of her head was replaced.  Before putting the replacement catheter in, the doctor put an endoscope down the hole to see if he could puncture some of the membranes that separate the various cysts.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t have typical anatomy in there and he couldn’t get comfortable enough with what he was looking at to start tearing holes.

Next, he checked the catheter on the rear left that Dr. O’Neill had placed two surgeries go.  If you remember, Dr. O’Neill removed a catheter from the rear left and inserted a new one in a new hole in Madison’s head a couple of centimeters to the right.  After confirming that this catheter was working, he then put an endoscope down the old hole that was vacated when Dr. O’Neill did his procedure (make sense?).  That way, he was able to use the endoscope to make holes in the walls of a couple of cysts.  That went well, and he was as even able to see the catheter that Dr. O’Neill had placed in the different hole.  This meant that enough spaces had been connected that the two holes led to the same contiguous space.

Finally, he added a fifth catheter down that original hole and hooked it into Madison’s shunt system.  Since there was already a hole there, there was no real harm in adding an additional catheter.  And since the two catheters are draining the same space, they are not both needed.  However, since the hole was already there, he added the fifth to provide some redundancy in the system.  That way, if one gets clogged, the other will still drain the area.  In fact, in theory, we’ll never know (or care) if one gets clogged as long as the other still works.  That being said, Madison now has five catheters in her head.  When Julie asked the doctor if Madison was his only patient with five catheters, he responded, “she was my only patient with four.” 

Madison was pretty upset when she woke up, which was not a shocker given the extent of this surgery and the extended duration of the anesthesia.  They gave her some morphine in the recovery area and planned to give her a second dose around midnight.  After that, they’ll see how she does on a combination of Tylenol and Tordal.  Julie stayed at the hospital, and I headed home to catch up on work and get a few hours of sleep.  I’ll update tomorrow on how she’s doing when I get a chance.

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