NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Thanks to innovative technology a 10-year-old Milford girl who had brain surgery spent little time in the hospital.
What can take days to complete is now down to around five hours at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.
For Elena Soviero and her family, it was more than comforting.
It started with Elena getting headaches.
"It was giving me really bad headaches and I couldn't go to school because of them," Elena said.
"She didn't have any neurological symptoms, no seizures," said Janice Soviero, Elena's mom, "nothing to show that it was anything else, so when we saw the MRI we were shocked."
Shocked because neurosurgeon Dr. Michael DiLuna found a lesion in Elena's brain.
"They're actually benign lesions and very common," said Dr. DiLuna, Smilow Cancer Hospital.
What was most concerning though was a large blood clot.
"The biggest concern with these is that people develop seizures, neurological problems afterwards," said Dr. DiLuna, "whether they are paralyzed, difficulty speaking and then if it's going to bleed again."
Brain surgery was scheduled.
"The key is to remove the blood clot, which is right up against the part of her brain that controls her ability to talk," said Dr. DiLuna, "and not injure any of these blood vessels in the process."
The operation was done in the intra-operative MRI suite at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale: the only one of it's kind in Connecticut.
It's where doctors like Dr. DiLuna can in real time, look at blood flow and vessels in combination with MRI.
"Where all of our instruments can navigate using the real time images that are acquired from the MRI and it makes the surgery much more accurate, precise and to some degree it makes it much more safe," Dr. DiLuna said.
And there's more.
"It can all be done in the same setting while the patient is still under anesthesia without having to travel or perform subsequent surgeries in the next day or the day after than," Dr. DiLuna said.
After Dr. Diluna removed the lesion and blood clot an MRI moved in to help him assess the progress of the surgery.
It showed no sign of the lesion and blood clot.
"When he walked out, nothing is 100 percent, but I can tell you 99.9, everything is gone, she should do fine, it was just a good feeling," said Fiore Soviero, Elena's dad.
"Knowing that he got it all out was, it made me happy," Elena said.
Follow up MRI's have since shown that Elena is indeed healthy. And she tells News 8 she'd like to be a neurosurgeon just like Dr. DiLuna.
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