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Teamwork Solves the Mystery of a Brain Mass

By |2024-05-10T08:42:52-04:00April 12th, 2018|Categories: Neuroscience, Patient Stories|Tags: , , |

brain mass treatmentFred Cerbini had undergone a root canal just two days earlier when he began experiencing problems with his vision. First, he failed to notice a pile of brush on the side of the curb and hit it with his car, and then later that morning he struggled to compose an email message after missing the letters on his keyboard.

“I was frustrated and disoriented, but an afternoon nap rejuvenated me,” recalls Fred, a 68-year-old Jackson resident. “However, after dinner I experienced flashing lights in my eyes and a massive headache, so I went to bed to watch TV. Instead of falling asleep, I fell out of bed and couldn’t speak.”

After arriving at CentraState’s Emergency Department, Fred and his wife, Lucille, were met by Farag Mankarios, MD, a board-certified internal medicine physician on staff at CentraState.

“We had to urgently admit Mr. Cerbini and start our diagnostic work-up,” Dr. Mankarios says. “Our tests were geared toward diagnosis, and to prepare him for a future battle with disease and surgery. Possible diagnoses for his symptoms were seizure, infection, or a brain mass.”

A CT scan revealed a shadow in the back of Fred’s brain, and an MRI revealed that the shadow was a tumor. Fred and Lucille prepared themselves to hear the bad news of a cancer diagnosis.

Instead, notes Mark McLaughlin, MD, a board-certified neurosurgeon with Princeton Brain & Spine and on staff at CentraState, the tumor was actually an abscess filled with bacteria.

“The tumor was pressing on his optic nerve and causing flashes of light in his eyes and loss of peripheral vision,” Dr. McLaughlin explains.

Dr. McLaughlin and his neurosurgical team, including neurosurgeon and partner Seth Joseffer, MD, used a state-of-the-art operative neuronavigation system to accurately pinpoint the location of the abscess so they could drain it using minimally invasive surgical techniques.

“I was impressed by the professional and compassionate care I received from Dr. Mankarios, and Dr. McLaughlin is everything a surgeon should be regarding his skills and his ability to put me and Lucille at ease,” says Fred, who runs his own photography/videography business. “This was our first experience with CentraState, and thanks to the excellent care I received, Lucille and I now trust CentraState and its doctors and staff with all of our medical care.”

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