Specialized Treatment for Moyamoya Disease

moyamoya diseaseDr. Peter Nakaji treats Moyamoya Disease, a rare cerebrovascular disorder caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain in the basal ganglia. Surgical treatment involves restoring blood flow to the brain by opening narrowed blood vessels or bypassing blocked arteries. Moyamoya Disease is a progressive condition that most commonly affects children. If you or your child is experiencing symptoms of this disease, you should seek treatment immediately. Without care, there is a risk of a debilitating or fatal stroke. Contact Barrow Brain Institute to schedule a consultation.

What Is Moyamoya Disease?

In Japanese, “moyamoya” means “puff of smoke.” Patients with blocked arteries develop a tangled web of blood vessels at the base of the brain. On MRIs and other images, this tangle often takes on the appearance of smoke. Individuals with Moyamoya Disease will often suffer transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). The effects of these “mini strokes” are similar to the symptoms full strokes. Memory loss, paralysis, seizures, and muscle weakness are often temporary. In some cases, however, patients could experience permanent brain damage or neurological problems.

Symptoms intensify as arteries continue to narrow and harden. As this happens, TIAs will occur more frequently. Eventually, the sufferer is likely to experience a full stroke.

Who Is at Risk for Moyamoya Disease?

Children and adolescents are most likely to develop Moyamoya Disease, but it can impact adults as well. No one knows the exact cause of the condition, though scientists speculate that there may be a genetic component. Additionally, certain health problems may increase your risk for Moyamoya Disease:

·       Sickle cell disease

·       Down Syndrome

·       Neurofibromatosis type I

·       Radiation therapy for the head or neck

Diagnosis and Treatment

To diagnose Moyamoya Disease, Dr. Nakaji will review your symptoms and medical history. MRIs are also important for an accurate diagnosis. These images can reveal reduced blood flow, as well as the indicative wispy blood vessels at the base of the brain. Dr. Nakaji may also perform an angiogram. During this test, he will inject a colored dye into your blood to reveal abnormalities.

Surgery is the only long-term treatment for Moyamoya Disease. In the meantime, medications can reduce your risk for TIAs. Dr. Nakaji performs several types of revascularization surgeries:

·       During a direct revascularization procedure, he will redirect an artery from your scalp, attaching it to an artery in your brain. This procedure is often more successful in adults since their blood vessels are larger.

·       There are several types of indirect revascularization procedures. These techniques increase blood flow to your brain. New blood vessels develop in response. In some cases, Dr. Nakaji will combine direct and indirect techniques.

Revascularization procedures are not without risks. However, they can significantly reduce the risk of TIAs and strokes. These surgeries are especially successful when performed on children.

Contact Us to Schedule an Appointment

Moyamoya Disease is an extremely rare condition requiring specialized expertise. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of this condition, contact Dr. Nakaji’s office today.

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