Neurosurgeons at Barrow Neurological Institute successfully removed a deadly brain lesion from a 17-year-old Tennessee boy after his family was told by multiple physicians that his malformation was too risky to completely remove.
Following surgery by Robert Spetzler, MD, director of Barrow, in September 2013, and after more than six weeks recovering in the hospital, Nathanael Price returned home to Mount Juliet, Tenn.
Diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) at age 13, Price underwent eight brain procedures including two bouts of radiation over a four-year period to shrink the lesion, but treatment was unsuccessful. An AVM is an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins in the brain. The vessels in an AVM weaken over time, making them prone to rupturing and bleeding. It wasn’t until Price arrived at Barrow that doctors learned his AVM was already causing small micro bleeds inside his brain.
“We were desperate to find Nathanael help, and we were absolutely thrilled when we heard there was a brain surgeon—Dr. Spetzler in Arizona—who could successfully remove the lesion,” says Chris Price, Nathanael’s father. “We found him at just the right time.”
Price was referred to Barrow after suffering two serious seizures while volunteering at a children’s camp in Colorado during the summer of 2013. His family was told by a neurosurgeon in Colorado that Dr. Spetzler was the only brain surgeon who could attempt to remove the entire malformation from Price’s brain. Price underwent a 12-hour brain surgery in addition to five other procedures at Barrow to successfully remove the entire AVM. Following surgery, Price underwent intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy in the Deborah and Bruce Downey Neuro Rehabilitation Center.
“Nathanael’s treatment was very complex given the size and location of the AVM, and I am delighted at how well he is recovering,” says Dr. Spetzler.
While undergoing therapy, Price received a surprise when he was invited to meet one of his favorite country music bands, the Zac Brown Band. The band reached out to Price upon learning of his successful recovery.
“I was excited when I learned the Zac Brown Band wanted to meet me,” says Price. “I had been in the hospital for six weeks and never thought I’d be meeting one of my favorite bands during my recovery.”
Back home, Price looked forward to returning to his studies, church and outdoor activities.
“I suffered with the AVM for a long time, and I’m thankful to be putting it behind me,” says Price.