2004 began with a jolt for Ryan's family of Palmetto Bay. Gregg and Trisha were eager to learn the cause of their 4-year-old son Ryan’s regular headaches. But they were not prepared for the diagnosis that would follow.
In January, Ryan’s pediatrician referred the chatty and inquisitive preschooler to a neurologist to investigate the source of the headaches he had been experiencing on an almost nightly basis. Ryan underwent an MRI at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital. Then came a call from Dr. John Ragheb, Director of the Division of Neurosurgery at Nicklaus Children's. This division receives referrals of challenging neurosurgical cases from throughout the country.
“Dr. Ragheb explained that Ryan had a rare condition. An arachnoid cyst was embedded at the center of his brain. The cyst was inhibiting the flow of spinal fluid within his brain, causing pressure to build dangerously,” recalled Trisha. She was told that Ryan would need to undergo surgery right away.
“This was such a traumatic moment, but somehow Dr. Ragheb made us feel from the very start that everything would be alright,” said Trisha. “Looking back, I’m not sure how we got through it. I think it was Dr. Ragheb’s manner and his confidence that he could help Ryan.”
Ryan benefited from a new minimally invasive surgical technique that enabled the team to remove the plum-size cyst without creating a large opening in Ryan’s skull. Instead, a tiny portal was made in the skull through which a three millimeter neurosurgical endoscope and miniature surgical tools were inserted. The cyst was punctured and collapsed through this small hole in Ryan’s scalp.
Ryan's family was delighted with the outcome. “Within minutes of emerging from surgery, Ryan was talking,” Trisha recalled. “We knew then that he was going to be fine.” Today, Ryan is a playful, enthusiastic preschooler who loves to talk and asks a million questions.
“We are so grateful. If it weren’t for this excellent team, we might have had to travel out of state for care. We received the best care available, right near home,” said Trisha.