Toddler gets non-invasive brain surgery with help of "medical crazy glue"

A toddler with a rare vascular condition has undergone complex brain surgeries -- without doctors having to even go in her skull.

Thirteen-month old Camila Garate has been diagnosed with the rare condition arteriovenous malformation (AVM), CBS News' Alison Harmelin reported, a condition that disrupts the blood flow to her brain.

Typically arteries carry blood containing oxygen from the heart to the brain while veins carry less-oxygenated blood away from the brain and back to the heart. However people with AVM have a tangle of blood vessels in the brain or on its surface that diverts blood from the arteries to the veins, according to the American Stroke Association. The abnormal vessels weaken over time and may burst, causing bleeding in the brain. Death risk climbs 10 to 15 percent with each brain bleed and risk for permanent brain damage increases 20 to 30 percent with each bleed.

Less than 1 percent of people have AVM, according to the association, which is often present when someone is born.

Camila's parents noticed when she was a few months old that her left hand was always clenched and she wouldn't transfer toys from her right hand to the left. That's when doctors at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City discovered the AVM, which had affected the right sign of her brain severely.

They were able to close off the blood vessels without the need for invasive brain surgery by inserting a catheter into her leg and guiding it through her body to her brain. Then, surgeons injected the catheter with "medical crazy glue" to seal off the blood flow.

"We need to have something that hardens immediately," Dr. Alejandro Berenstein, chief of interventional radiology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, told CBS News. "Literally within seconds."

The surgeons close off a few blood vessels during each surgery to allow her brain time to adjust to the changes. This is her third procedure, and her doctors are optimistic her cognitive development won't be too affected, though she may experience some mild weakness on the left side.

"At least my daughter has the best chance you know," her father Hector said.

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