Doctor details Brad Pautsch’s successful brain surgery

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. (KTIV) - For more than a year, KTIV has documented the progress of our colleague, Brad Pautsch, after he underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his brain. For the first time, we’re hearing from Brad’s surgeon about the gravity of Brad’s condition last March, and the surgery that saved his life.

“This is a cross-sectional image of the lower part of Brad’s brain,” said said Dr. Quentin Durward, Surgeon. “In the center of this is this larger area-- this grayish, white mass-- which is the tumor.” The egg-sized tumor, in the balance and coordination center of Brad’s brain, had caused dizziness and vertigo to develop over a few short weeks.

“When you first got a look at the images of the tumor in Brad’s brain, what did you think?” asked Matt Breen. “Well, I was very concerned,” said Durward. “The CT and MRI scans gave us great concern that we were dealing with a tumor, that the tumor had malignant features, and that the tumor was causing pressure and that he needed urgent surgery to relieve the pressure and remove the tumor.”

“When you talked with Brad and Sally before the surgery, what did you tell them?” asked Breen. “I told him that he had no alternative,” said Durward. “That he had a condition that required urgent treatment.”

The risks were very real. “Any mistake of getting into the brain stem could have left him with a permanent, major deficit neurologically,” said Durward.

It took hours of precise, painstaking surgery, at MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center, to remove the tumor. “I got what I referred to as the ‘gross total removal’,” said Durward. “What that means is that everything that I could see, and everything that I could detect using that sophisticated guidance system, I got out.”

“When you see Brad now, a full year later, what do you think?” asked Breen. “I’m just absolutely overwhelmed with joy that he’s looking as good as he does,” said Durward.

Thanks to the latest technology, Dr. Durward could see “real time” MRI images of Brad’s brain in the microscope he was using to separate the brain tissue from the tumor tissue. Ten years ago, the accuracy would have been five to ten millimeters. For Brad’s surgery, the accuracy was as close as one millimeter. That allowed Dr. Durward to get as much of the tumor out as he could.

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