UPMC Center for Skull Base Surgery
Celebrating 25 Years
For more than 25 years, UPMC surgeons have been pioneering treatments and technology to access and remove tumors at the base of the skull. Because the base of the skull has proven to be one of the most challenging regions of the body to access, treatment options were once limited for patients with tumors or lesions in this area. However, with recent advancements and breakthroughs in treatment, patients with skull base tumors now have an array of surgical options that can help them return to leading a normal and active life.
Blending the specialties of neurosurgery and otolaryngology, the surgical team at UPMC was among the first in the world to use the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA) to reach deep-seated tumors and lesions —some as large as softballs— through the nasal passages. The procedure utilizes a specially designed endoscope that provides light and a lens for viewing and transmitting internal images and highly crafted instruments that are used alongside the endoscope for dissection and tumor removal. This concept of “inside out surgery” – starting directly at the tumor and working outward– eliminates the need to move critical structures of the brain to reach the tumor.
UPMC skull base surgeons have treated more than 2,000 patients using EEA and are recognized as the world’s leading experts in skull base surgery. In addition to its successful use in adults, EEA has proven safe and effective in children. More than 100 children have been treated by UPMC surgeons using EEA —more than at any other neurosurgery center in the world.
Learn more about EEA surgery at UPMC >
A Comprehensive Approach
Because our surgeons are experienced in an array of skull base treatments, they utilize a variety of surgical approaches and techniques to design the best treatment plan for each patient. For the majority of skull base surgeries, EEA is considered the best treatment option. However, there are situations in which a traditional approach is still required.
Our experts prefer not to force one type of surgical approach. If a specific tumor can be completely removed using a single procedure, such as EEA, then that approach will be utilized. However, if part of the tumor is located on the other side of important structures, such as blood vessels and nerves, we prefer to remove the residual portion using a different corridor, which can be a focused traditional approach. There are also situations in which only a focused traditional approach is necessary.