This article has been written and paid for by UHealth, the University of Miami Health System.
Dr. Ricardo Komotar is a neurosurgeon and director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Brain Tumor Initiative. To learn more about innovative options for the treatment of brain tumors or to make an appointment, call 305-243-1000 or visit the University of Miami's health news blog.
When Andreina Molano started experiencing a severe shift in her mental health, including panic attacks, depression and increasing paranoia, doctors told her it was likely a mood disorder.
“I had a feeling there was something else,” she says.
Dr. Ricardo Komotar, neurosurgeon and director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Brain Tumor Initiative, discovered that Andreina’s symptoms were the result of a tumor pressing on the part of her brain that controls temperament.
Andreina, who was at the time 24-years-old and studying to be a doctor, had difficulty processing the news. “It was extremely hard taking in that information,” she says. But meeting with Dr. Komotar helped allay her fears. “He explained everything very thoroughly. He was very calming and reassuring.”
“Brain tumors are rare in the general population,” says Dr. Komotar. “If you're going to be treated, it should be by a specialist who treats only brain tumors.”
Sylvester’s Brain Tumor Initiative together with the Skull Base Surgery Program offers the highest level of expertise for the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant brain tumors. As part of University of Miami Health System, Sylvester offers several unique technologies to treat brain tumors of all kinds. These include awake craniotomies for accessing tumors in critical parts of the brain, minimally-invasive cannular systems for accessing tumors deep in the brain, endoscopic surgery, 5 ALA fluorescence for better visualizing tumors and the ROSA robot for precision biopsies and laser ablation.
“Our extensive experience allows us to make the most accurate diagnoses, generate the most effective treatment plans, and conduct brain tumor research studies that ultimately lead to the best outcomes for adult and pediatric patients,” says Dr. Komotar.
“I felt like I was in good hands,” says Andreina.
Soon after Andreina’s diagnosis, Dr. Komotar and his team completely removed her brain tumor. Over the year that followed, she relied on friends and family for support as she focused on her mental and physical recovery. “It takes time to heal,” says Andreina. She is currently working as a medical assistant while she pursues her dream to become a physician’s assistant.
With a team that includes neurosurgeons, neuropathologists, radiation oncologists and neuro-oncologists, Sylvester delivers comprehensive care to brain tumor patients based on their individual needs. In addition, brain tumor patients gain access to clinical trials not available outside of academic medical centers.
Together with her entire family, Andreina sent Dr. Komotar a video message from their Thanksgiving table a month following her surgery. “Happy Thanksgiving, Dr. Komotar,” she says. “So grateful for you.”
FOCUSING ON YOU
Focusing on You: Innovations in Modern Medicine is a series of healthcare-related stories airing regularly on WPLG Local 10. For more stories like this one, visit YouTube channels for UHealth, the University of Miami Health System.