King’s patient recovers after life-saving brain surgery

Gary Young thanks King’s College Hospital neurosurgery team who saved his life

Bassel Zebian and Gary Young

An Orpington resident is recovering at home after developing a serious brain condition which required minimally invasive brain surgery.

Gary Young, 51, began experiencing problems with his balance in April this year. He explained: “I did suspect something was seriously wrong, but I was scared and pretended I was OK. When I had a fall in my garden in May, my wife, Nicola, lost no time in making sure I saw my GP as soon as possible. He suspected I might have a build-up of fluid on my brain.”

Following scans at the Princess Royal University Hospital, Gary discovered he had hydrocephalus, where excess fluid puts pressure on the brain. The cause of this was obstruction due to a large cyst. If untreated, it can be fatal. Gary said: “My life was hanging in the balance. It was terrifying.”

Gary was rushed to King’s College Hospital, where he underwent a seven-hour emergency keyhole procedure to divert the fluid away from the obstruction and remove part of the cyst. He said: “Because of COVID-19, my family waited at home while I underwent the surgery. It was such a nerve-wracking time, but Bassel Zebian, one of the consultant neurosurgeons who treated me, video called them at the end of surgery to let them know that I was fine, the operation was a success, and that I was expected to make a full recovery – what an absolutely selfless gentleman.

“I’m now back home with my family and on the road to recovery. Helping me overcome my brain condition was an incredible team effort, and without my GP who saved my life by spotting the early warning signs of my condition, the neurosurgery team at King’s, and my neuro-oncology clinical nurse, I wouldn’t be here today. The care I have received is truly world class: not all heroes wear capes. Many wear scrubs.”

Following his surgery, Gary has raised over £2,500 which were donated to the King’s Neurosurgery Foundation to help improve the management of patients with brain conditions.

Mr Bassel Zebian, Consultant Neurosurgeon at King’s College Hospital said: “We are all extremely happy to see how well Gary is doing. We were blown away to hear about his kind and generous fundraising efforts; his support will make a huge difference. I am truly proud of the whole team at King’s for ensuring that we can continue to provide world-class, innovative and life-saving neurosurgical treatments despite the pandemic.”

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