Originally from San Diego, Natasha Gunther Santana describes how, due to repeated sinus infections, she ended up having head surgery, with surgeons removing a piece of her skull. How is it possible ? Explanations from Dr Gérald Kierzek, emergency doctor and medical director of TipsForWomens.
A 26-year-old American, Natasha Gunther Santana, tells the story of Sun how she suffered from repeated sinus infections, which led her to have head surgery. A succession of poorly treated infections, which caused a brain abscess. Abscess which was treated by the removal of “half of the skull” according to his testimony.
A particular mutation that makes it insensitive to antibiotics
It was therefore after her fourth sinusitis in a row that the young woman went to the hospital. This time, the infection made her particularly ill: in addition to the classic symptoms of sinusitis, Natasha Gunther Santana suffered from vomiting and a severe headache. She also feels unusual anger and irritability. “I became a different person, with a different personality. I was very angry at the world and I wasn’t myself” she explains.
At the hospital, tests performed revealed that she had a PRKCD immunodeficiency mutation. This particular mutation means that the antibiotics had no effect on his repeated infections. More serious: a brain scan shows that a collection of pus has formed in his brain, explaining his symptoms.
A piece of skull removed to lower intracranial pressure
To treat it, doctors decided to perform a temporal craniotomy. But the American suffered complications: she suffered an acute deep vein thrombosis and convulsed. In total, to be treated, she will undergo seven different surgeries: four on the brain and three on the sinuses.
How to explain this surgical treatment? “Craniotomy is the act of opening part of the skull and removing a flap. It is a technique used in surgery to reduce intracranial pressure, caused here by the abscess. But this can also be the case to treat an intracranial hematoma” explains Dr. Gérald Kierzek, emergency physician and medical director of TipsForWomens.
How is the missing shutter replaced?
Although temporary, this removal is sometimes impressive when the removed flap is large. Which seems to be the case here, because the young woman had to wear a helmet for five months, to protect her brain, where the bone was missing. “Once the situation has stabilized, the missing flap is replaced by a synthetic material, a sort of synthetic polymer, to close the skull and give the head an aesthetic appearance. adds the doctor.
What are the signs of serious sinusitis?
“This story reminds us that sinusitis is not an infection to be taken lightly” indicates Gérald Kierzek again.
He reminds us of some common sense rules to follow in the event of a sinus infection: “Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, which can become infected and cause pain, or even a high fever, above 39°C. In any case, you should not take anti-inflammatories, which could make the situation worse. Consult a doctor if symptoms persist or worsen, especially if pain and fever are present.”.
In the event of repeated infections, your general practitioner may additionally prescribe a sinus scan.