Imagine being a parent of a child who has uncontrollable seizures. After numerous doctor visits and four failed medication attempts, the cause of your child’s seizures remains a mystery. That was the grim reality Mallory Hansen and her husband, Craig, faced after their son’s epilepsy diagnosis.
“When Noah was 10 weeks old, we noticed he was not acting normally,” Hansen said. “We learned he was experiencing infantile spasms. He would have anywhere from 10 to 30 seizures a day, and with each occurrence, he experienced 30 to 100 epileptic twitches.”
Despite being diagnosed with epilepsy at four months old, Noah underwent numerous tests including MRIs, blood work, EEGs, seeing a neurologist and a genetic doctor to pinpoint the cause of his seizures, but still no answers. When their son was two years old, the Hansens relocated to Houston and Noah’s medical files were transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital. It was there that the family finally got the answers to their son’s perplexing medical condition.
“The neurology team at Texas Children’s performed more tests including nuclear medicine, MRIs and EEGs in their Epilepsy Monitoring Unit which meant Noah had to stay in the hospital for multiple days,” Hansen said. “It was after an MRI that the neurologist discovered the reason behind Noah’s seizures and epilepsy.”
At the age of two, Noah finally had a diagnosis: His right occipital lobe had brain tissue that did not develop correctly as an embryo which was causing his seizures.
Since previous medications didn’t stop Noah’s seizures, the only option remaining was brain surgery. During the first phase of surgery, an 8×6 grid was placed on the top of his brain like a mini EEG and electrodes were inserted to show the depth of Noah’s seizures. After two days of recording his seizures, Texas Children’s neurosurgeons had enough information to perform the resection surgery where they removed the bad tissue from Noah’s right occipital lobe.
Following two 12-hours operations, Noah has made a miraculous recovery with promising outcomes.
“Since his surgery in July 2014, Noah has not had a single seizure,” Hansen said. “Since May 2016, he’s been off all three of his seizure medications. Thanks to Texas Children’s, the entire epilepsy team, emergency unit, neurosurgeons, critical care team and all the staff we encountered, we are forever grateful.”
Like the Hansens, patients families from across the country come to Texas Children’s because of our neuroscience team’s multidisciplinary care and expertise in caring for the most difficult to treat neurological disorders.
Ranked No. 2 nationally in neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report, Texas Children’s neurosurgery program is among the largest and most experienced pediatric neurosurgery units in the U.S., performing more than 950 surgeries annually for a broad range of pediatric neurosurgical disorders.
For more information about Texas Children’s Neuroscience Center, click here.