Laser therapy extracts rare tumor that grew human hair, skin in boy's skull

- Ten-year-old Gavin Pierson competes at state-level karate championships, but getting good at the sport required more practice than that of the ordinary athlete. About four years ago, a tumor comprised of human skin, hair, bone and cartilage was fast-growing inside the Ramsey, Minnesota, youth’s brain. When five craniotomies failed to permanently remove the mass, surgeons didn’t know if he would live— much less go on to perform a highly technical sport that requires physical strength and coordination.

But after undergoing multiple rounds of laser ablation therapy, an emerging surgical technique for removing pediatric brain tumors that he finished in early June, Gavin is like a regular kid again. He has achieved a purple belt in the martial art, is riding his bike for the first time in years, and, after re-learning to read, has returned to grade level.

“This is the first time in four years that we’re in remission,” Nicole Pierson, Gavin’s mother, told “The laser changed Gavin’s life.”


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