News & Press

December 19, 2012

Young patient beats rare brain tumor thanks to Advocate Condell Neurosurgeon

Advocate Condell Medical Center

Hannah Rausch has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.  An avid outdoors person, the 23-year old Twin Lakes, WI resident started experiencing a tingling sensation in her eye sockets last summer while she was counseling at a nearby camp.

"It was really weird.  I thought that maybe I'd slept funny, but then it started happening more and more," explained Rausch.  "By August, it felt like pins and needles in my eye sockets."

Rausch went to a chiropractor who recommended she have an MRI, which revealed a tumor behind her right eye socket.  It was wrapped around the nerve that controls sensation in that part of her face.

"I was terrified," said Rausch.  "I thought for sure they were goign to say I just needed to go to the chiropractor because it's a pinched nerve.  They assured me that the tumor was benign, but just knowing that there was a tumor growing behind my eyes was frightening."

What Ms. Rausch had was a "trigeminal schwannoma."  "This particular kind of tumor is rare.  As a neurosurgeon, you may see one or two of these in your career," said Jonathan Citow, MD, Chief of Neurosurgery at Advocate Condell Medical Center.  "And the complexity of the operation is such that you'd usually see these performed in an academic setting."

But, in a procedure that lasted 3 hours, Dr. Citow removed one hundred percent of the tumor.

"The tumor was actually more entangled than we had initially thought, but the procedure went extremely well," commented Dr. Citow. "In order to get the tumor, a large part of her skull was carefully opened and then replaced in perfect cosmetic fashion at the end of the case."

Hannah left the hospital two days after the procedure, and was up and driving again twelve days later.  Today, she is back to work full time, and a recent follow-up MRI revealed no signs of the tumor.

Rausch added, "I can't tell you how blessed I feel this holiday season.  What Dr. Citow was able to do was truly amazing.  I'm just really thankful."