On a typical day, 5-year-old Savon would endure six to nine seizures — some days, even more.
“Some days, the seizures came so fast that we lost count. It was an incredibly distressing and overwhelming time,” said Francis Kageche, Savon’s father.
Savon suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2019 when he was 2 years old, which resulted in uncontrollable epileptic seizures and weakness on the left side of his body.
At the time of his injury, Savon underwent multiple brain surgeries. These included bilateral craniotomies to evacuate the bleeding in his brain and the placement of an external ventricular drain to drain cerebrospinal fluid that was building up in his brain.
But this year, Savon received the surgery that changed everything for him.
UC Davis Health’s Chief of Pediatric Epilepsy Julia Sharma, assisted by pediatric neurosurgeons Marike Zwienenberg and David Brandman, performed a right functional hemispherotomy. During the complex surgery, the entire right hemisphere of the brain is disconnected from the rest of the brain. The surgery took six hours and was successful.
“The care Savon received at UC Davis was nothing short of exceptional. The dedicated team of doctors, nurses and professionals worked together seamlessly to transform Savon's life,” Kageche said.
Since Savon’s surgery, his speech, memory and intelligence have all shown remarkable improvement, said Kageche. But best of all, his seizures have stopped.
“It's a dramatic positive change in our lives, and we are filled with hope for his future,” Kageche said. “We highly recommend UC Davis to any families facing similar challenges with their loved ones. The level of expertise, professionalism, and collaboration among the medical staff is truly outstanding. UC Davis has played a pivotal role in turning our family's life around.”
Sharma said that it is incredibly rewarding for her to see a child like Savon become seizure-free after surgery.
“It is life-changing not just for the patient, but for the entire family. These experiences are what drive me. My patients motivate and inspire me to provide the highest level of neurosurgical care possible in the fight against epilepsy,” Sharma said.