Doctors successfully removed a benign tumor from Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton’s brain during a complex procedure Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Boughton went into surgery at about 7 a.m. and doctors finished the operation around 2:30 p.m., hours earlier than expected, said Boughton’s sister, Donna Moore. Moore and another sister accompanied Boughton to Pittsburgh.
Moore told Hearst Connecticut Media that Boughton’s surgeon, Dr. Robert Friedlander, thinks he was able to remove the entire tumor, and that her brother was conscious and speaking just over an hour after the operation was complete.
Moore said Boughton was just waking up from the anesthesia when she and her sister visited him in the Intensive Care Unit, and despite his grogginess immediately recognized them both. Within 15 minutes, she said, he was sitting up in bed with his glasses on and talking to them.
“He is doing great,” she said. “It was more emotional for my sister and me. ... You always worry when someone has surgery, but he’s tough as nails.”
She said Boughton, who had a bandage on his head, told her he was glad the surgery was over and that he was very tired.
Boughton, 53, is running for his ninth term as mayor while exploring a run for governor. He learned about the tumor’s existence only recently, when he started suffering headaches and dizzy spells, and decided to have surgery as quickly as possible.
A top-tier Republican contender for governor in 2018, Boughton has said he expects to resume work on a limited basis in about two weeks.
The lemon-sized tumor is of a type known as an epidermoid cyst, which grows slowly over years or even decades and is rarely cancerous.
Dr. Jennifer Moliterno, a brain tumor surgeon at Yale New Haven Hospital who has removed many epidermoid cysts, said such tumors are not common.
They tend to grow around nerves that control facial functions, hearing and more, she said.
“The prognosis is good because it’s benign,” Moliterno said. “It can be a challenging surgery for the surgeon, because there’s a lot of important arteries, nerves and other neurological structures in the vicinity where you’re working. But in experienced and capable hands, a patient can have a very successful outcome.”
She said usually these tumors require only one surgery, even if a small amount of the cyst has to be left behind.
Just before the surgery began, Boughton tweeted, “It’s time. Thank all of you for your good wishes and prayers. God has the wheel now. ‘Clear eyes, full heart.’”
The last phrase is a reference to a famous scene from television’s “Friday Night Lights.” The full quote is, “Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.”