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patient name: Jayna Gehret

age: 13

condition: grade I meningioma

seen in: orthopedics, emergency department and neurosurgery

providers: Craig Shank, MD, Gogi Kumar, MD and Shobhan Vachhrajani, MD, PhD

In late January 2023, 13-year-old Jayna began having trouble with her legs, especially her right leg. What started out as occasionally tripping, progressed to extreme right leg weakness and inability to clear the ground with her right foot when she walked.

Jayna's mom, Christine, made an appointment for Jayna to be seen by Craig Shank, MD, pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Dayton Children's Hospital. Dr. Shank ordered X-rays of Jayna's legs and performed a physical examination. After completing the evaluation, Dr. Shank believed Jayna's symptoms were related to her brain or spinal cord because her bone structure didn't show a cause for concern.

The following day, Jayna found herself unable to walk at all. Christine immediately took Jayna to the emergency department at Dayton Children's. In the emergency department, Jayna underwent a battery of neurological tests as well as an examination by Gogi Kumar, MD, division chief of neurology. Dr. Kumar admitted Jayna to the hospital and ordered an MRI to further evaluate her symptoms.

On Sunday, January 22, Jayna's family learned that she had a spinal tumor that was putting pressure on her spinal cord, and she would need to have surgery to remove it. That afternoon, they were introduced to Shobhan Vachhrajani, MD, PhD, pediatric neurosurgeon. Dr. Vachhrajani reviewed Jayna's MRI with her family and thoroughly explained the surgical procedure and what to expect leading up to the surgery. "Dr. Vachhrajani was very encouraging and eased our anxiety," stated Christine.

Later that same week, Dr. Vachhrajani performed a spinal laminectomy on the tumor. A spinal laminectomy is a common type of surgery where a section of bone is removed from the back of the spine to access the spinal cord. After an 8-hour surgery, Dr. Vachhrajani successfully removed the tumor from Jayna's spinal cord. Jayna remained in the hospital for five days after surgery and worked with physical therapy to improve the stiffness and weakness in her legs.

One month after surgery, Jayna returned to see Dr. Vachhrajani for a follow-up appointment where she learned that the tumor on her spine was a grade I meningioma. Grade I meningiomas are low-grade tumors and are the most common grade of meningioma. They grow very slowly and are less likely to come back once removed. Jayna will continue to follow up with Dr. Vachhrajani every three months and her most recent follow-up MRI shows no recurrence of her tumor.

Nearly half a year later and Jayna's physical abilities are showing significant improvement. She continues to attend physical therapy close to home, working to improve her strength and mobility more and more with each session. Jayna went from not being able to walk at the beginning of the year to now being able to run, jump and even begin doing cartwheels again. Jayna's family never imagined this would be a possibility considering where she was just a few months ago.

"Everyone at Dayton Children's, especially the neurosurgery team, are top notch. Dr. Vachhrajani and the rest of Jayna's care team took such great care of her through surgery and beyond," stated Christine.