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Complex Brain Surgery Hits All the Right Notes

By |2024-05-10T08:42:12-04:00April 12th, 2024|Categories: Neuroscience, Patient Stories|Tags: , , |

Gary Triolo’s workday started like any other – going through paperwork, checking email and answering calls – until his world suddenly started spinning out of control.

“I looked up and the room started to spin to the left in slow motion,” explains Gary, who serves as the director of Food and Nutrition Services at CentraState. “It totally shook me.”

He managed to make his way down the hall to Family Practice of CentraState. Within moments, his eyes began darting back and forth, he experienced double vision and the room started spinning again. “It was faster this time,” Gary says. “I immediately felt nauseous and discombobulated. I couldn’t even stand. I knew I needed help.”

Gary was immediately transported to the CentraState Emergency Department, where endocrinologist Shilpi Singh, MD, ordered a pituitary MRI and diagnosed Gary with pituitary apoplexy. This meant that a tumor, which had been growing in his pituitary gland, had ruptured and was bleeding into his brain – a condition requiring emergency surgery. His care team then coordinated rapid treatment at one of the nation’s premier hospitals for cranial neuroscience and comprehensive brain tumor care.

A Partnership that Benefits Patients

Thanks to CentraState’s partnership with Atlantic Health System, patients with complex brain conditions like Gary’s can be seamlessly connected to The Gerald J. Glasser Brain Tumor Center at Overlook Medical Center’s Atlantic Neuroscience Institute, ranked among the top 5% of the nation’s neuroscience programs. The Glasser Brain Tumor Center is recognized by the North American Skull Base Society as a team of distinction with expertise in skull base surgery.

Gary was transferred via ambulance to Overlook, where neurosurgeon Yaron A. Moshel, MD, co-director of the Glasser Brain Tumor Center, was ready and waiting to perform emergency surgery with Giant Lin, MD, a skull base ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon and a member of the minimally invasive skull base surgery team.

“Our multidisciplinary team of neurosurgeons and ENT surgeons specialize in skull base surgery, often collaborating with neuro- oncologists and radiation oncologists to treat patients holistically,” says Dr. Moshel. “Because we perform the procedure Gary needed often, we’re adept at anticipating and managing any complications after surgery.”

Gary’s surgery was performed through a minimally invasive procedure in which special instruments and a small camera were guided up his nasal passage. The pituitary tumor was
then removed through his nostril. After three days in the hospital post-surgery, Gary started his recovery at home and then began physical therapy to retrain his hand-eye-body coordination.

Just two months after his surgery, Gary returned to work. This past December marked one year since Gary’s surgery. His brain scans are clear, and the only lasting impact is the need for continued monitoring and hormone replacement therapy.

Renewed Appreciation for Family and Self-Care

While Gary is grateful to his physicians for saving his life, he also gives credit to his father’s spirit for “the upper-level protection” that got him through. “My dad was a surgeon at Overlook,” he says. “His name is on two plaques and both are on the fifth floor near the neurology ICU. It was like he was there with me.”

Gary also appreciates the comprehensive roadmap of care he received at diagnosis, the family support from his wife, children and in-laws and the helpfulness of his colleagues, who picked up his workload during the busiest time of the year while he was recovering. “It was like all the stars aligned,” he says.

Gary, now 61, has regained all the functions he lost, including his ability to play the piano. “My wife and kids were concerned that the piano would be more challenging after this, but that didn’t happen at all,” he explains. “My 7-year-old grandson also plays the piano, so we play together every chance we get. And that’s very special to me and my whole family.”


To learn more about the neuroscience services at CentraState, visit the page here.

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