'Satnav' puts Beau on road to recovery

A SEVEN-year-old boy from the Capital has become the first youngster in Scotland to undergo surgery using a state-of-the-art electro magnetic "satnav" equipment that allows surgeons to navigate the brain.

Beau Rendall, from Craigentinny, underwent brain surgery at the Sick Kids' Hospital using the new Medtronic Navigation to replace a tube which prevents spinal fluid from building up in his brain.

It was the fifth time that Beau, who suffers from spina bifida and requires the tube - or shunt - to keep spinal fluid moving, has had the operation.

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However, using the new equipment surgeons were able to pinpoint with increased precision the part of the brain where the device would be most effective.

Beau's mum Tracy, 43, said that she noticed the difference in his health immediately.

She said: "He had been ill for a while before but after he had recovered from the operation he was charging up and down the ward shouting 'yeehaw' and nearly ran over the surgeon with his wheelchair, it was such a difference.

"There's every chance he'll need this to be replaced again. However, previously it's been very difficult to accurately place the shunt. Now there's not so much guess work and it makes it more straightforward."

Another youngster who will benefit from the new equipment will be Chantelle Cummings from Longstone, who will undergo brain surgery later today.

The five-year-old suffers from a rare mix of disorders, including Chiari malfunction, a condition causing the brain to sink on to the tip of the spine.

The condition, which is usually only detected in adulthood, was only diagnosed when she had an MRI scan for a separate eye condition.

Like Beau, Chantelle's operation is intended to relieve spinal fluid pressure on her brain, which has caused her health to deteriorate.

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After the operation her mum Charlene and Sick Kids surgeons hope she will be in a better condition to undergo two possible further procedures.

Charlene, 22, said: "There's only a small place in Chantelle's brain for the shunt to go but her consultant has said the new equipment will be a big help in ensuring it goes in the right place."

She added: "She knows what's going to happen today and she's not worried at all. She's gone through a lot but she's very brave and she's doing so well."

Jerard Ross, consultant neurosurgeon at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, said: "This piece of equipment is a significant advance in neurosurgical technology. It will help us manage patients, both new and old, who come to Sick Kids for help with a range of conditions."

To thank the Sick Kids Friends' Foundation, which raised 220,000 to buy the equipment, Charlene is holding a fundraiser at Leith's Queen Charlotte Rooms on February 18 to raise money for more new equipment.

She has already sold more than half of the tickets and is appealing for businesses to donate raffle and auction prizes for the event.

Maureen Harrison, chief executive of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, said: "We were absolutely delighted to hear that the equipment has now begun to benefit children and of course we wish Beau a speedy recovery from his operation.

"We could not have bought the equipment without the tremendously generous donations from the public.

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"I'd also like to thank Charlene for her generosity in holding a fundraiser for us. The funds raised will go towards providing more cutting-edge equipment for sick children."

To buy a ticket or donate a prize for the fundraiser e-mail [email protected]