By Darren Lum
Published Jan. 11 2018
It is a great start to the new year for Minden teen Ryan Prentice and his family who received some welcome news during a procedure several days ago to treat his previously undetected arterial venous malformation (AVM).
This comes after months of rehabilitation and numerous questions related to the spontaneous brain hemorrhage he suffered as a result of the AVM last year on Friday April 7.
The procedure had been the result of several months of communication between Ryan’s neurosurgeon and radiologist.
“They decided to use a method called embolization: this is where they enter the brain through the femoral artery. Because of the large size of his AVM they decided to use this approach to basically glue some of the high flow areas in the AVM and this would allow it to be more treatable by radiation a procedure called gamma knife radiosurgery” Ryan’s dad Tom Prentice Jr. wrote in an email to the Times. According to the website related to the Mayo Clinic a non-profit medical practice and medical research group based in the U.S. gamma knife radiosurgery also known as brain stereotactic radiosurgery is a type of radiation therapy used to treat tumours vascular malformations and other abnormalities in the brain. Despite the name this therapy does not involve surgery or incisions but rather it involves directing 200 tiny beams of radiation at the tumour or malformation with minimal damage to healthy tissues near the target.
“Ryan was at Toronto Western Hospital on Tuesday [Jan. 2] and he had the surgery but after a few hours the doctor came and told us that he had opted not to glue any of the veins as none of them appeared to be considered 'high flow.'”
Prentice understands this to be a good thing and was told the “radio surgery” has greater effect without the glue. This surgery provided the doctors an improved map of the AVM in Ryan’s brain. The next step is to treat Ryan with what they call a “gamma knife procedure.”
Prentice’s son is home and had been scheduled to return to Toronto Western Hospital for a planning appointment this past Wednesday with a procedure scheduled for Jan. 17.
In the months following Ryan’s emergency care Ryan eventually became an out-patient and then received rehabilitation which included work on his short-term memory assistance from a speech language pathologist a physiotherapist an occupational therapist and social workers.
The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School Grade 12 student has returned to school and hopes to graduate this spring. He finished his rehabilitation at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital at the end of June. His father said Ryan still sees a physiotherapist locally and except for some occasional short-term memory issues he “has pretty much returned to normal.”
The community showed its support with donations to a GoFundMe effort and also contributed to a day of unity organized by a family friend and fellow student when students faculty and supporters wore blue or Highland Storm clothing related to his love of ice hockey.
Tom Prentice Jr said the family is thankful and has appreciated the community’s concern and support during the past several months. He thanks everyone for “the support prayers and well wishes” Ryan and the family has received.