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Cysts and shunts
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This forum is for questions and support regarding neurology issues such as: Alzheimer's Disease, ALS, Autism, Brain Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Chronic Pain, Epilepsy, Headaches, MS, Neuralgia, Neuropathy, Parkinson's Disease, RSD, Sleep Disorders, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury.

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Cysts and shunts

My father had an arachnoid cyst in his head that went undiscovered until he was 40.  When the doctors took it out, they said it was the size of a grapefruit.  After the surgery, fluid kept building up in his brain and a shunt was put in from his head to his stomach to drain the fluid. That shunt was infected, and a new one was placed on the other side of his head. Last year they put in a new shunt that can alter the pressure by placing a magnet on top of his head.  After 5 head operations, his doctors have said they don’t know what else to do. He still gets horrific headaches and I feel that the doctor just keeps giving him more pain pills to mask the pain. I know my dad has a high tolerance for pain, so when he says it hurts it must be excruciating. We make jokes as a family about the hospital because we are constantly there for him. He has good days, but the majority are bad. Last week he had emergency surgery on his stomach because the tube connecting to the shunt was wrapped around his intestine, which caused an infection. The doctors say it was from the scar tissue from previous surgeries.  He’s 59 now- I’m not sure how many more surgeries he’ll be able to handle. My parents have just gone with the flow for all these years, but now they are fed up!  I guess part of me just wanted to share with you what my family has gone through; the other half wants to know if a doctor has done something else. Is there a new technology, new procedure, or a better hospital?  Will his doctor get mad at me if I search elsewhere for a better doctor? Will that doctor take his case since he’s already being treated by someone else? Is the a medicine that has worked for someone else?
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Did the doctor remove the cyst or just drain it? Some surgeons remove part, some all of it, some just drain it.

I can sort of sympathize as I build up a lot of scar tissue too but I have not had as many complications as your dad.

There is nothing wrong with getting another opinion at all! Get surgical reports and pathology reports and start faxing them around to see if you can find someone who will give you another idea. He should not have to live in pain.
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