Epileptic teenager celebrates birthday just five days after innovative brain surgery at Alder Hey

A teenager with epilepsy has celebrated his 16th birthday - just days after undergoing a groundbreaking form of brain surgery aimed at stopping his seizures.

Nathan Wood, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, was the first patient at Liverpool's Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to have the new procedure.

It is one of just three hospitals in the country to offer the procedure, which destroys the area of the brain where seizures begin using pinpoint accuracy.

The teenager was also able to return home much sooner than he would have been allowed with traditional surgery, and now hopes he will remain seizure free for the first time in seven years.

Nathan said: "For me, it was just a really promising option that hopefully would change my future.

"The procedure was a lot less scary than I thought. I was home just two days later.”

Doctors said they could not fully control Nathan’s epilepsy with medication. Credit: ITV Granada

Neurosurgeons hope the treatment, which uses a laser to remove the area of the brain where seizures are arising, could transform the lives of some people with epilepsy.

It means youngsters like Nathan should stay seizure-free and enjoy an independent future.

He has suffered recurring seizures since he was diagnosed at the age of nine, and it had a devastating effect on his life.He said: "At first I was having them during the day and night and I was struggling to focus in class.

"Some of them, I'm scared as it leads up to it, or I'll just go straight into it after being asleep."

The procedure is new to the UK and Alder Hey is one of only four hospitals to offer it.

Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy works by using an MRI-guided laser ablation system, allowing the surgeon to accurately destroy the affected tissue in real time.

Although this may be a ground-breaking treatment for many children and young people, it is only appropriate in cases where clinicians can identify the area of the brain affected by epilepsy, and if their epilepsy is not already controlled well with medication. 

Mr Jonathan Ellenbogen, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Alder Hey, performed the procedure on Nathan.

He said: "We will now monitor Nathan to see if the procedure has helped his seizures. We’re delighted to be able to offer this procedure now at Alder Hey.

"It can be life-changing for the children and young people who really suffer with this condition.”

Nathan added: "I hope it'll just stay the same as it is now with no seizures anymore."

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