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Toddler Brain Surgery

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When Camila Garate was just a few months old, her parents noticed she wasn't using her left hand.

"It was always clenched in a first. She wouldn't transfer her toys from the right to the left," says mother Zuleyma Quintero.

Doctors discovered the 13-month-old has a rare condition called arteriovenous malformation. The blood flow is disrupted in her brain because she's missing capillaries and her arteries are connected directly to her veins.

"The right side of the brain is severely affected, her cognitive development would be poor and she would no doubt develop seizures," says Dr. Walter Molofsky, chief pediatric neurology, Roosevelt Hospital.

Doctors at Roosevelt Hospital have been able to close off the blood vessels without invasive brain surgery. They inserted a catheter in her leg then guided it through her body, to her brain. Surgeons then injected what they call medical crazy glue to seal off the blood flow.

"We need to have something that hardens immediately.. literally within seconds," says Dr. Alejandro Berenstein.

This is Camila's third procedure. Doctors close off a few blood vessels during each surgery so her brain has time to adjust to the changes.

"It's obviously been difficult dealing with her having so many surgeries at such a young age, it's scary," says mother Zuleyma.

Doctors are optimistic Camila will do well cognitively but may continue to experience some mild left-sided weakness.

"At least my daughter has the best chance you know," says father Hector.

For now Camila is late hitting physical milestones but doctors say as she grows she should do quite well.

Camila still needs additional surgeries. Her family has moved from South Carolina to New York to be closer to her doctors.

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