Brain surgery, science and education

As a pediatric neurosurgeon, neuroscientist, and educator, I come across many interesting bits of information and wonderful people. I will try to share some of this with you here. While the site draws heavily from my experiences as the Campagna Chair of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Oregon Health & Science University, and head of neurosurgery at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, this is a personal blog. My thanks to my wonderful OHSU colleagues, who share this exciting and rewarding work with me.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Minimally Invasive Brain Tumor Surgery at Doernbecher

Doernbecher has a distinguished record for removing some of the most difficult tumors faced by pediatric neurosurgeons.

One of the toughest, a rare tumor called craniopharyngioma, is tucked deep in the center of the head, between the carotid arteries emerging from the skull base, the vision nerves, the most sensitive areas of the base of the brain, and the brainstem (see an example, below). Our novel report of using a newer skull base surgical approach in children to remove craniopharyngiomas, while preserving visual function at record high rates, was highlighted on the cover of the leading Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, in 2009.

Modified orbitozygomatic craniotomy for craniopharyngioma resection in children

Now, for some smaller craniopharyngiomas, an even newer, more innovative approach is available at Doernbecher: using an endoscope to enter the skull base through the nose and remove the tumor minimally invasively, and completely. Remarkably, this trans-nasal surgery leaves no scar at all.

Some larger tumors are still removed using the open skull base approach Doernbecher helped develop in children. Along with our superb brain tumor program colleagues, these innovations offer the best odds for children with one of the most difficult to treat pediatric brain tumors.

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