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Baby healthy year after surgeons removed half of her brain

Posted at 8:47 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 20:47:32-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A baby is perfectly healthy one year after surgeons in Indianapolis removed half of her brain in one of the rarest operations.

Last year, Dr. Jeffrey Raskin at Riley Hospital for Children successfully performed Indiana's first hemispherectomy in 15 years. His patient, Zahra Batool, was nine months old at the time.

Zahra suffered from debilitating seizures, and surgerons said without that surgery the seizures wouldn't let her grow and develop. One year after the daring operation, Zahra is still seizure-free,

She was back at Riley Wednesday for a follow-up appointment, and her doctor talked about Zahra's progress.

“I would expect if her left cerebral hemisphere is normal, I would expect her to be able to walk and talk and go to school," Raskin said. "They typically have limited use of their hands. So in her case, her left hand may not have all the dexterity that her right hand does. But she should still be able to use it.

"And she should be able to walk. She may need a brace on her leg. But I would expect her to have minimal cognitive deficits and be able to participate as a very functional, contributing member of society."

Since Zahra has been seizure-free, she has been growing, developing and living a healthy life.

Hemispherectomies are so rare that there are only about 50 cases nationwide each year.