The Neurosurgery Unit at Joan XXIII University Hospital employed a new pioneering technique to drain haematomas in patients who have suffered an injury to the head, or what is known medically as a chronic subdural hematoma. The doctor who specialises in this technique, Marcos Escosa, is the lead author of a scientific article describing the successful use of the technique. The neurosurgery team at the hospital published the study in the official journal of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies, Acta Neurochirurgica. This technique is not very invasive and is as effective as other conventional procedures, but it has the advantages of reducing hospital stays and postoperative complications.
Escosa explained that this pathology is common among elderly patients who suffer a trauma to the head and then develop a haematoma over several days or weeks. The doctor adds that these elderly people are generally not aware of the problem until the haematoma grows and they start to have symptoms such as progressive dementia, paralysis of one side of the body, problems speaking, problems with memory or mental sluggishness. The presence of a subdural haematoma can be identified before the show of any symptoms with a CAT scan of the head.
The technique used by the Joan XXIII neurosurgery team consists of making a 5 mm incision in the head into which a 3 mm drain is inserted which extracts the liquid inside. The procedure is done with local anaesthetic and the patient is awake and able to communicate with doctors throughout the operation, and the doctors can immediately test the results of the operation as the patient begins to recover any capabilities lost due to haematoma compression.
Doctor Escosa explained the other benefits of the new technique, “The brain is not touched, so there are fewer complications because the surgery is less aggressive.” Also, the medical faculty has confirmed that there are fewer postoperative issues, and the patient can go home on day following the operation, after a follow-up CAT scan and the removal of the drain.
The Joan XXIII Neurosurgery Unit leads Tarragona in this type of procedure and treats some 50 patients a year. It is anticipated that this number will increase as the population ages.
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