Norwegian man travels to Barrow for risky surgery

Norwegian man travels to Barrow for risky surgery

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Kristian Knudsen was told by surgeons in Norway that his complex golf ball-sized brain aneurysm was too risky to treat. But with a ticking time bomb in his brain, the 35-year-old husband and father of two young children, knew he had to find someone who could remove it.

“It felt as if I was living a nightmare,” Kristian says. “I had been diagnosed in 2006, and as the aneurysm grew I underwent two brain surgeries in Norway to treat the malformation. The second surgery caused a stroke and as a result, I had to relearn to walk and struggled with cognitive deficits including memory loss.”

Without another surgery, Kristian’s aneurysm would grow and possibly rupture. A brain aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in a blood vessel and is life-threatening it if bursts.

Kristian was told there were only two hospitals in the world that could attempt to safely treat the deadly malformation – a hospital in Japan and Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. He selected Barrow and renowned neurosurgeon Michael Lawton, MD, one of the world’s leaders for removing aneurysms.

Giving a family peace of mind

After arriving at Barrow, Kristian underwent an innovative and risky surgery, followed by a second surgery the next day to effectively treat his aneurysm. His case was so complex and the surgery is so rare that his neurosurgeon in Norway traveled with him to Barrow to observe in hopes of helping future European patients.

Just five days after surgery, Kristian was already up and walking around. They family returned home to Norway the week following his procedures.

“The reason I think he’s done so well is that we came up with the right strategy and we minimized the amount of surgery or invasion into the head that we need to do,” Dr. Lawton says.

Kristian exclaims, “I’ve been given my life back. It’s been a long road.”

“We are so thankful for Dr. Lawton and Barrow,” says Stine, Kristian’s wife. “Kristian’s recovery and outcome is totally amazing. We no longer have to live in fear of Kristian’s aneurysm rupturing and we can plan for a wonderful future together with our children.”

Kristian, his wife, and two young children

Aneurysm and AVM experts offer hope through innovative treatments

The institute is known for accepting the challenge of taking on patients from around the world with conditions deemed inoperable by other hospitals. Barrow’s leading specialists are often able to treat conditions others are not.

But they aren’t content with the status quo, constantly trying to develop new treatments and procedures for even better patient outcomes. Currently, Dr. Lawton is leading research to understand and treat aneurysms with less invasive procedures through the Barrow Aneurysm and AVM Research Center.

Thanks to this commitment to excellence and innovation, Kristian and his family returned to Norway with a brand new lease on life.