Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles Developed Minimally Invasive Approach to Removing Pineal Tumors–Small Incision Behind
Posted Sep 15 2010 7:12pm
I have heard about procedures that go through the nose and now for tumors in other areas the endoscopic procedure can be done via a small incision done behind the ear. Of course with less cutting, recovery time is better for the patient. The video below talks about one of their other procedures performed at the institute. Even tumors that are not cancerous can push on the brain and create problems. Pineal tumors can be some of the most challenging brain tumors to remove.
One of the most difficult-to-remove tumors located deep in the midbrain area can now be safely excised thanks to the work of one Los Angeles surgeon. Hrayr Shahinian, M.D., medical director of The Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles, has developed a minimally invasive approach to removing pineal tumors so called as they are shaped like pine cones. The new procedure is expected to replace the more invasive open brain approach favored by neurosurgeons, which leaves patients more vulnerable to brain damage and other side effects as well as long and difficult recoveries. Shahinian says that his patients are enjoying healthier asymptomatic lives not to mention much shorter treatment and recovery times.
Hrayr Shahinian, M.D.
More common in children than adults (average age of diagnosis is 13), pineal tumors can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, visual impairments, double vision, memory problems, seizures and, in children,precocious puberty. While 20% of pineal tumors are benign or relatively benign, 80% are highly malignant and their exact cause is unknown. Even benign tumors can be problematic as they can press on nearby brain structures causing painful and serious reactions.
The new procedure developed by Shahinian involves making a dime-size opening behind the ear, inserting a small endoscope over the top of the cerebellum and through a natural pathway accessing the deep-seated pineal tumor. This eliminates the need for any metal retractors or having to go through brain tissue to reach the problem area.
“I’m delighted that my endoscopic approach is bringing hope and relief to patients suffering from pineal tumors,” said Hrayr Shahinian, M.D. “For patients suffering from significant symptoms, open brain surgery is often the first option. When surgery is required, this minimally invasive approach is an excellent and safe alternative and results in much shorter surgery and hospitalization times and fewer complications.”