The Doctors: New Minimally Invasive Surgery For Strokes + FAST Symptoms

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The Doctors: 38-Year-Old Man Suffers Sudden Stroke

As Dr. Travis Stork said on The Doctors, for Nicole and Jon, everything seemed to be falling in place. Their son just celebrated his second birthday, they moved into their new home, and John’s career was on the rise, until one Monday morning when everything changed.

Nicole explained that as her husband was being wheeled into surgery, he told her that he was scared, and she told him that everything was going to be fine. She said that was the last time she talked to “her Jon.” She said everything changed.

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The Doctors: New Minimally Invasive Surgery For Strokes + FAST Symptoms

The Doctors spoke to a man who is recovering after suffering from a stroke thanks to a new minimally invasive surgery. (Naeblys / Shutterstock.com)

Six hours before that moment, Jon was at work when he heard a loud pop in his head. He soon lost control of his left hand and called his wife Nicole. Nicole said when she checked her voicemail, she listened to a voicemail from Jon that said “something is wrong” and he slurred his words and then hung up. She said it was like all the blood had left her body because he was so far away and he needed help.

The Drs TV: Minimally Invasive Surgery For Strokes

After leaving the voicemail, Jon collapsed. Nicole kept calling his phone, hoping someone would pick up and finally someone answered and said Jon had collapsed and the paramedics were on the way. Nicole recalled repeating that Jon couldn’t die and leave her and their son alone.

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She got to the hospital and told Jon everything would be okay. The Doctors told her that John had a stroke, which was surprising because he was only 38 years old. She said she was told by the doctors that he had a very slim chance of survival.

Nicole then decided to move Jon to UCLA Medical Center. When they got there, Dr. Neil Martin, chief of neurosurgery at UCLA, introduced himself and then told her she had two options: wait and do nothing, or he could try a brand new surgery where he would insert a vacuum deep into Jon’s brain to remove excess blood and blood clots. But of course, there were risks.

Jon could start bleeding more, but Nicole knew that John would want to gamble and get the best recovery possible so she said yes. She said she broke down and cried after because she wasn’t sure if she had done the right thing.

The Doctors: New Surgery For Brain Bleeding

Nicole and Dr. Martin were on the show to explain what happened to Jon. Jon walked out and joined his wife on stage. John had some residual effects from the stroke, but he’s slowly been able to reteach himself how to redo things like walk and even think. He said all the things you take for granted he had to relearn to do.

Dr. Martin shared the innovative technique he used to save Jon. Dr. Martin showed a blood vessel in the brain that had become weakened by the effects of high blood pressure over the years. When it ruptures, the red blood cells leak out of the vessel and form a mass, almost a tumor of clotted blood, inside the brain. They used to operate on this by doing a craniotomy, which involved a very large incision and very large opening in the skull. An incision would also have to be made in the brain tissue in order to get to the clot. They were always concerned about the damage done during the surgery.

For that procedure, the damage during the surgery might negate even getting the blood clot out of the brain.

The Drs TV: New Minimally Invasive Procedure For Strokes

Now, they’ve developed a minimally invasive technique where they make a small incision over the eyebrow and an opening in the skull about the size of a dime or a nickel, and then using a scope, they go in through the opening. The scope is directed by a computerized system, right into the area of the clot. They then use a gradual increase of suction-like pressure until the blood comes out. They’re not cutting into the brain, they’re simply displacing it with the use of the catheter through a “relatively silent” area of the brain.

Once the clot is removed, the put the endoscope through the catheter to look into the cavity and make sure there isn’t any ongoing bleeding inside the cavity. As The Doctors pointed out, by looking at Jon, you can’t even tell he had any kind of procedure done at all.

Nicole said his recovery has far exceeded everyone’s expectations, saying that she really did think she was going to lose him.

Dr. Stork said the takeaway is to think FAST when someone is experiencing stroke-like symptoms which include facial drooping, arm drifting downward, slurred speech, and time, meaning call 911 if you see any of those signs.

Dr. Martin explained that the procedure is still experimental, but they’ve seen a lot of great results. Jon said it was a miracle and thanked Dr. Martin and his team for getting him to where he is today.

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