Gleneagles Global Health City helps a four-year old with brain tumour of size 6 by 4 cms, get a new lease of life!

~ Medical experts at GGHC performs a seven-hour long neurosurgery to treat a four-year old with Pediatric Brain Stem Gliomas ~

Chennai, 17th June, 2021: Gleneagles Global Health City (GGHC), a leading quaternary care multi-specialty centre in Chennai, performs a 7-hour complex re-craniotomy surgery on a four-year old child to remove a brain tumour from the brain stem.

The four-year old had complaints about inability to walk independently, talk clearly and deviation of her eyes since March, 2020. She was operated in another hospital in January 2021 for the accumulation of fluid in her brain called hydrocephalus. However, her condition deteriorated.

She had come to GGHC on March 19, 2021. A detailed assessment by our neurosurgeons, pediatricians, oncologists, neurocritical and anaesthesia team with special studies like diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) revealed a tumour, measuring nearly 6 by 4 cms, occupying and compressing the entire brainstem. Her scans and tests revealed a brain tumour in a very important and critical part called the brain stem.

The child’s parents were counselled about the complexity of the surgery, the possibility of post-operative ventilation and prolonged ICU stay, considering the location of the tumour in the brain stem.

Our team of neurosurgeons lead by Dr Nigel Symss, Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon performed the surgery, with Dr Ramanan, Lead for Neuro anaesthesia and Neurocritical care. She underwent a re-craniotomy. Highly sophisticated equipment like operating microscope, navigation, cavitron ultrasonic aspirator (CUSA) and intraoperative neuromonitoring were used to remove the tumour from the brainstem. Technological advancements and timely intervention enabled the successful execution of the surgery.

Following the surgery she did not require to be kept on the ventilator and was nursed in the pediatric ICU under the watchful eye of Dr Karnan Head of Pediatric ICU, and his team. She made a remarkable recovery and was able to communicate with her parents, her strength in the limbs improved and was able to talk and eat. She underwent a short period of rehabilitation and was discharged on the sixth day post her surgery.

Dr Nigel Symss, Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon and Clinical Lead Neurosurgery, Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai said, “When the child came to our hospital, she already had significant neurological deficits, and was nearly confined to her bed. Her parents were fatigued from the already multiple surgeries the girl had gone through and there was still no diagnosis other than that she had a large tumour in her brainstem. They were told by the previous hospital that the tumour was in an extremely critical location and removing it was a matter between life and death. The biggest challenge was the size and location of the tumour considering the age and medical history of the patient. Without a multi-disciplinary approach the execution would have been impossible.”

Dr Dinesh Nayak, Director of Neurosciences, Gleneagles Global Health City added, “Considering the seriousness of the surgery our team of expert specialists went on to save her life despite being in the storm of the Covid pandemic. All the latest and most sophisticated technology was used to make the surgery safe, and post-operative recovery smooth”.

“Anaesthesia for children requiring brain surgeries has many challenges. Children cannot tolerate blood loss like an adult would. It requires meticulous calculations of drug doses and need special equipment called intraoperative neuromonitoring for administering anaesthesia safely for such surgeries.” added Dr Ramanan, Clinical Lead Neuroanaesthesia and Neurocritical Care, Gleneagles Global Health City.

“The child had a smooth post-operative recovery period in the Pediatric ICU, and was under constant surveillance for any worsening of her neurological, and vital functions” added Dr Karnan, Head of Pediatric ICU, Gleneagles Global Health City.

While commenting on this achievement, Dr Alok Khullar, CEO – Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai, said, “Assessment of risk vs benefit of surgery in such a large tumor in a critical location like the brainstem needs a highly skilled Neurosciences team, Equipment and Protocols. The decision and protocol for surgery was arrived at with highest level of diligence with the child’s safety as first priority. We wish the child a healthy life ahead.”

About Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai

Gleneagles Global Health City, the sprawling 21-acre facility located in Perumbakkam, Chennai is the largest facility of Gleneagles Global Hospitals India. With a capacity of over 1000 beds and accreditations from leading agencies, the facility is Asia’s most trusted and leading Multi-Organ Transplant Centre. The hospital has undertaken several path-breaking Liver, Neuro, Heart, Lung and Kidney procedures. It is recognized by several national level accrediting agencies. World-class infrastructure, dedicated staff and a commitment for medical excellence are the USPs of this facility. The hospital has several achievements to its credit and continues to work on several pioneering procedures.

Gleneagles Global Hospitals has multi-super speciality hospitals in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai. The brand is the most preferred hospital group for multi-organ transplants in Asia region. The parent entity of Gleneagles Global Hospitals is IHH Healthcare, a leading premium integrated healthcare provider with a network of 84 hospitals and more than 16,000 licensed beds. It is one of the largest healthcare groups in the world by market capitalisation and is listed in the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia and Main Board of SGX-ST. IHH is a leading player in the home markets of Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey and India, and in their key growth markets of China and Hong Kong.

For further information, kindly contact

Akriti Gupta | 87549 40305 | [email protected]

Sushma Mathen | 99627 15769 | [email protected]


  • Tumours that arise in the brainstem are approximately 15% of pediatric brain tumors. The majority of these brainstem tumors are cancerous and cannot be removed. The remaining are brainstem low-grade gliomas and are generally slow growing with a more favorable prognosis.
  • Childhood brain stem glioma is a disease in which benign (noncancer) or malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the brain stem.
  • Gliomas are tumors formed from glial cells. Glial cells in the brain hold nerve cells in place, bring food and oxygen to nerve cells, and help protect nerve cells from disease, such as infection. In brain stem glioma, the glial cells in the brain stem are affected.
  • The brain stem is made up of the midbrain, pons, and medulla. It is the lowest part of the brain and connects to the spinal cord, just above the back of the neck. The brain stem controls vital functions such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure, and the nerves and muscles used in seeing, hearing, walking, talking, and eating.
  • Most childhood brain stem gliomas are diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG), which form in the pons. Focal gliomas form in other parts of the brain stem.