The Doctors: What Is A Teratoma Brain Tumor? Visualase Laser Review


The Doctors: Benign Golf-Ball Sized Tumor

When two parents, Steve and Nicole, noticed their five-year-old boy was having a lot of sudden, unexplained changes in his behavior, they wondered if they needed to see the doctor. Gavin played Tee Ball and was always very active. But one day he was rubbing his eyes a lot and if you were really close to him, he couldn’t look up with his eyes. He had to lean his whole head back. It turned out he had a benign tumor in his brain.

The Doctors: What Is A Teratoma Brain Tumor? Visualase Laser Review

The Doctors told the story of 7-year-old Gavin, who suffered from a teratoma benign brain tumor until a new laser treatment called Visualase saved him. (fixer00 /


Because the tumor was benign, chemotherapy and radiation wouldn’t work for it. The only treatment they had available was surgery. So he had three 16-hour surgeries within six weeks. The tumor was getting smaller, but around Christmas they noticed the symptoms again. Gavin was leaning to one side a lot as well. The tumor was growing again. The doctors told them that Gavin only had a few months to live.

But ultimately, there was a new laser treatment available for Gavin that helped him get rid of his condition. Gavin then talked to the camera and he was adorable. “I am a good person and a good citizen,” he said. He also revealed that he named his brain tumor Joe Bully. “He is losing. And he is going D-O-W-N,” he said.

The Doctors: What Is A Teratoma Brain Tumor?

Gavin’s tumor, “Joe Bully”, is called a Teratoma. It was a large tumor sitting in the center of his brain. Dr. Joseph Petronio, the surgeon that worked on Gavin, said that Gavin’s tumor was not inoperable. They operated on it five times. However, trying to take it all out might cause serious neurological problems.


The Doctors: Visualase Laser Review

Fortunately, they found a new laser technology called the Visualase Laser. It’s an MRI-guided technology. The laser fiber is no bigger than a coffee stirrer. Using MR navigation, doctors are able to put the tip of the laser fiber anywhere they want in the brain. Using the laser, they were able to heat Joe Bully and kill him.

Gavin’s parents agreed to this procedure, making Gavin the first and only patient to use Visualase to battle a mature teratoma. Although his parents were nervous, Gavin was cheerful. He was hopeful the laser would get rid of the tumor. “We will have a goodbye Joe Bully party with a goodbye Joe Bully cake and three pinatas,” he said.

The procedure worked by inserting the laser catheter through a small hole in the skull and the scalp. The MRI allows doctors to monitor temperature of both the tumor and the brain. The composition of Joe Bully is unique in that it conducts heat very broadly.

The Doctors: Goodbye Joe Bully Party

Gavin’s surgery was a success and so he and his parents, Steve and Nicole, came on The Doctors to celebrate. The Doctors gave him a party with a pinata, a bunch of balloons, and of course, a Goodbye Joe Bully cake. They were still missing two of the pinatas, but it was a a great moment on the show.

They also surprised Gavin with ringside seats at the WWE, because Gavin loves wrestling, and a trip to Universal Studios in Los Angeles.


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