March 8, 2019

Epilepsy Treatment Gives Patient New Outlook

Charles Gossow feels more confident about his health now than he ever has before.

He was 15 years old when he suffered his first seizure and was diagnosed with a rare neurenteric cyst in the right frontal lobe of his brain. Over the next several decades, Gossow received medication and underwent multiple operations to drain the cyst, but he continued to have debilitating seizures.

Through the years, the seizures worsened. Gossow described them as “bizarre” and said the episodes eventually caused him to pass out every 10 to 12 minutes.

“I was doing this constantly, day and night,” Gossow said.

Gossow, of Paris, was referred to the UAMS Department of Neurosurgery where he met Demitre Serletis, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery. Much like the doctors who treated Gossow previously, Serletis discovered a large, complex, cystic lesion nearly 3 inches in diameter in the right frontal lobe of Gossow’s brain that was pushing on the surrounding brain structures.

But unlike other physicians who treated Gossow, given the large size of the cyst and the fact it had been drained many times, Serletis decided it best to remove the lesion. The cyst was near the surface but well encapsulated within the right frontal lobe of Gossow’s brain. Serletis was able to drain and completely remove it. Uniquely, under direct microscopic vision and with the help of a neuronavigation GPS-like system, Serletis cut the walls of the lesion away from the cortical surface.

“The lesion stripped away quite readily,” Serletis said. “We chased it down and removed the entire thing.”

As a precaution, Serletis left behind a shunt system just below Gossow’s scalp so that if the cyst does return it could be drained to hopefully avoid Gossow the hardship of another operation.

Now just past the one-year anniversary of the surgery, Gossow remains seizure free and the lesion has not recurred.

“If you would have seen my file, you would understand how it is to have something the size of a lemon in your head, taking up space, and having to deal with it,” Gossow said. “Right now, it’s not there and I’m not having any noticeable problems with it. I’m able to function every day, pretty well.”

Gossow credits the professionalism and knowledge of Serletis and his neurosurgery team for his improved health.

“Of all the doctors I’ve dealt with in my life, and it’s been a lot, Dr. Serletis has been the finest I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with,” Gossow said.

Serletis continues to monitor Gossow’s condition with regular MRI scans. Moreover, the neurology team will soon lower Gossow’s seizure medications if he continues to remain seizure free.

“We’re very hopeful the lesion and related seizures won’t come back at this point, because of its complete surgical removal,” Serletis said.