March 23, 2006
I am pleased to report that the surgery to remove a 1.7 cm meningioma from the right side of my brain was a success. It took place yesterday morning (March 22), and I checked out of the hospital this morning with no complications.
For the record, a one-day hospital stay for a craniotomy is apparently not record-worthy: I recently read a 2001 article about a study on same-day brain surgery by a hospital in Canada.
Unlike my previous brain surgery, which occurred in August 2005 and was about as complicated as they can get, yesterday’s surgery was on the easy end of the spectrum due to a variety of factors: the tumor was still relatively small, it had not yet pushed up against the critical motor or sensory areas of the brain, and had not yet penetrated through the meningial layers which line the brain. The neurosurgeon was able to easily remove the tumor in a single piece, and since I was not under general anesthesia, he apparently showed it to me during the operation. I have no recollection of this or any other events during the surgery, because the anesthesiologist administered a drug at the end of the surgery that effectively wiped out short-term memory.
There were two important elements that made this surgery so much easier. First, now that I get MRIs every six months, the new tumor was detected well before it could develop to the very significant and dangerous size of the first one. Second, the surgery was done without general anesthesia, just sedatives at the beginning and end and local anesthetics for the incision. The recovery time from this type of procedure (assuming no other complications, such as the swelling which took place as a result of the first surgery) is minimal: I was alert and fit within an hour after the surgery ended. Since I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to eat hospital food and be woken up every few hours, I ended up spending the night in the hospital...