Interventional Radiology Cutting-Edge Procedure Puts Brooklyn Back in the Game

October 01, 2019

Sitting on the sidelines is not something nine-year-old Brooklyn is accustomed to doing. But after breaking her upper arm, it was discovered that a cyst was growing in her bone – potentially sidelining the tween for years from the sports she loves.

At her local hospital, Brooklyn underwent surgery to remove the cyst leaving her with a four-inch-long scar. In a short time after her surgery, Brooklyn broke her arm four more times- the cyst had returned and was severely weakening her bone.

It was then that her doctor said there was nothing more he could do for her. Brooklyn, who plays softball and enjoys dance, was told she would have to sit out from the activities she loves for a few years until her bone growth slowed down. Her parents, Mark and Rhonda Tissiere, asked, “What else can we do?” They sought a second opinion at Lurie Children’s.

Once at Lurie Children’s, Brooklyn met with orthopaedic surgeon, Terrence Peabody, MD, who referred her case to interventional radiologist, Shankar Rajeswaran, MD. Dr. Rajeswaran presented a first-of-its-kind plan of action to Brooklyn and her parents. “Brooklyn had a recurring unicameral bone cyst which was making her arm bone weak and prone to fracturing,” explained Dr. Rajeswaran. “Her arm bone was essentially as fragile as an egg shell.”

As an interventional radiologist Dr. Rajeswaran uses image guidance to help perform minimally invasive procedures that once required open surgery. In Brooklyn’s case, Dr. Rajeswaran proposed entering Brooklyn’s arm with two pin-dot sized incisions, chemically burning the cyst wall and then inserting a bone graft.

Dr. Rajeswaran entered Brooklyn's arm with two pin-hole incisions.

“We performed the minimally invasive procedure in less than an hour. First burning the cyst wall and then placing a regenerative bone graft. The bone graft recruits bone cells to build normal bone,” Rajeswaran said. “As a result, this cutting-edge procedure made it possible for Brooklyn to heal quicker and return to normal activity sooner.” 

One-year post surgery, Brooklyn’s cyst has not returned, and she has not suffered additional arm fractures. And most importantly, she’s back at playing softball even helping her team to win a championship.

“My arm feels perfect. It’s totally back to normal. I’m so happy,” said Brooklyn. Her parents echo, “If we hadn’t done the second opinion, we would have had a daughter watching sports and not participating. We are so, so happy with the outcome.” 

“Lurie Children’s is changing the way pediatric bone cysts are managed across the country. Through pinhole incisions, we can treat a really big problem,” Rajeswaran said.