Warning from St Albans woman after traumatic aftermath of dental op
- Credit: Archant
Having a tooth removed nearly killed a St Albans woman, who is warning others to beware if they suffer headaches after dental surgery.
Alex Maghie, 47, from Watsons Walk, needed a life-saving emergency operation to tackle THREE brain abscesses and is left paralysed down one side of her body.
Now she wants to spread awareness of the dangers of routine dental treatment.
She said: "I had a simple tooth extraction. No complications. There was no infection. It was painful but that's to be expected. A week later I had crippling pains in my head and aching limbs.
"Two weeks later I ended up having major brain surgery for major inflammation and cysts on my brain - a result of the tooth extraction.
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"My brain was being attacked by bacteria. It is important people are aware. Please be vigilant. It's highly unusual but it's happened before and will happen again."
Unable to stop the agony, she visited her GP who referred her to hospital. A scan immediately revealed swelling and a lesion in her brain and she was transferred to a London neurology hospital, where a team of specialists worked to determine the cause.
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Medics feared a cancerous brain tumour, tropical disease or tuberculosis and Alex underwent many tests and scans.
Then a risky biopsy on her brain abscesses showed the problem was caused by bacteria - called streptococcus milleri - directly linked to the tooth extraction.
She spent three weeks receiving hospital treatment including intravenous antibiotics and steroids and surgeons don't know if her brain function will ever return to normal.
The personal assistant is numb down her left side and she still can't feel her arm or leg. She is visited at home, daily by a nurse.
Alex has been signed off work for two months, requires daily injections of strong antibiotics for six more weeks and is worried she won't be able to type when she returns to her job at a London-based PR agency.
She added: "I've been incredibly lucky. My doctors took me seriously and acted quickly. Please keep an eye on any unusual symptoms or crippling head pains after dental surgery and visit your doctor immediately, if you are in any doubt. I'm just so glad to be alive. I feel truly blessed to have come out the other side."
According to the NHS, brain abscesses are pus-filled swellings in the brain. They occur when bacteria or fungi enter brain tissue after an infection or severe head injury.
Although the risk of developing a brain abscess is extremely low in England, it is a life-threatening condition requiring urgent medical treatment. Untreated or left too long, it can be fatal.
Symptoms can occur quickly or slowly and include headache, confusion, irritability, problems with nerve function, a high temperature, fits, vision changes, a stiff neck and nausea and vomiting.