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Done craniotomy for benign tumor, paralysis after stroke, unable to walk. What are the chances of walking again?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 115 Questions
My mother is 63 years old. She found out she had a grapefruit sized brain tumor in April 2012. May 21 she had a craniotomy, the tumor was benign, and they were able to remove almost all of it in a 15 hour surgery.

The tumor was located behind her right eye. The tumor had already taken her vision in the right eye. After the surgery she had a stroke which paralyzed her left side and closed her right eye.

She was in the hospital for 2-3 weeks w/ complications (pneumonia, trouble eating/swallowing,etc) Those all cleared up and she is able to communicate almost at the level of her pre-surgery.

The lasting effects are the paralysis. She was put in a sub-acute rehab facility, she received speech, occupational and physical therapies. She exceled in speech therapy.

After 3 weeks in the rehab center they had a family meeting with us and told us she would require 24 hour care for life and would never be able to walk again. This was a far cry from the "full recovery" prognosis we received from the neurosurgeon just 3 weeks prior.

They started cutting out her therapy until she was left with just 30 minutes of physical therapy 5 times a week. She has minimal movement in her left leg, is unable to bear any weight on it. She does have sensation in her arm and leg.

Before she left therapy she saw her neurosurgeon who said he still thought she COULD walk again.. not a perfect pre-stroke walk, but maybe enough to get her around even with a walker. He didn't have a lot of hope for her left arm.

I took her into my home on Wednesday because I refused to let my mother go to a nursing home at 63! I have 3 kids, a husband and a work at home job. I'm going to fight like hell for my mom in this next crucial year. But I don't know what to do. Or where to start.

And WHAT could the chances be that she walks again.. given that she hasn't had any purposeful movement in almost 3 months since her surgery. Please help!
Posted Sun, 9 Sep 2012 in Stroke
Answered by Dr. Mihail Iepure 2 days later
Welcome to XXXXXXX
In case of your mother post surgery and post stroke rehabilitation is crucial for speedy recovery and I am surprised why they reduced duration of therapy and discharged her. If rehabilitation program is not adequate, unfortunately some patients will simply not recover , will be in state of debilitation. Any how you can try apply for another specialized comprehensive stroke center to enroll in properly rehabilitation program or alternatively start recovery at home ( if it is possible in your case with support of your family ). In some cases home based therapy improving independence in personal activities of daily living. Primordial for her now is recovery of motor functions, bladder and bowel function, maintaining and retraining of cognitive abilities. Practically you can start following: ask speech and language pathologist opinion, prevent pressure ulcers, if her upper left extremity are flaccid prevent shoulder dislocation placing pillow under the affected arm, start motor recovery with active exercises of the unaffected limbs, and assisted active exercise of affected limbs, encourage activities of daily living ( moving in the bed, turning, sitting up, etc..) force to do task mainly with affected extremity, massage . For above measures better seek Occupational therapist opinion.
Hope this helps, if you have additional queries don’t hesitate to ask.
Best Regards,
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