FIFTEEN-YEAR–OLD Liam Cook said he is looking forward to catching up with his Hunter School of Performing Arts peers following radical surgery for Tourette’s syndrome.
Liam, of Wallsend, gained national attention this week after undergoing deep brain stimulation to treat severe tics that forced him to punch himself so hard he bruised.
Neurosurgeon Professor Richard Bittar at Royal Melbourne Hospital implanted two electrodes deep into his brain and they are permanently connected to a battery pack implanted in his chest.
The electrodes send a signal into his brain to interrupt the signals behind the tic impulses.
Liam was operated on last week and has already been discharged from hospital.
He was back in the Hunter on Wednesday and the first item on his agenda was playing with his dog.
‘‘Before the operation I was very moody and quite stressed,’’ he said.
‘‘After the operation I was just filled with relief.’’
The year 9 student said he is sore from the operation but cannot really feel the wires.
He has a few restrictions. The performing arts fan cannot dance because of the wires in his neck but he is allowed to sing.
Liam’s mother, Deb Cook, said it was tough to send her son into such major surgery, but necessary.
Liam is the second-youngest person to have the extreme procedure.
‘‘It was a last resort,’’ she said.
‘‘You don’t want your children to go through such a large operation like that, but his quality of life. We had to give it a go. ’’
The early results are positive with Liam having little or no sign of tics, a welcome relief, since the severe tics emerged four years ago.
‘‘We can’t stop smiling,’’ Ms Cook said.
‘‘It’s absolutely amazing.’’
Liam may still need some minor operations depending on the battery life of the neurostimulator.