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Removing Brain and Skull Base Tumors through the Nose

A surgical team at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has pioneered and refined a technique enabling complex and deep-seated brain and skull base tumors to be removed through the nose.

Blending the specialties of neurosurgery and otolaryngology, surgeons in both disciplines began investigating endoscopic transnasal brain surgery in 1998 and have played a pioneering role internationally to visualize these lesions and custom-design instruments to reach and safely remove them.

Their work originated with a technique designed to reach pituitary tumors but which now enables access to tumors at the base of the skull, central brain and top of the spinal cord by operating through the nose and nasal sinuses, typically leaving no scars and few, if any, lingering side effects.

This endonasal work, combined with a new minimally invasive technique developed at UPMC – the NeuroendoportSM – which is used to reach tumors within the substance of the brain and within its fluid spaces, enables the UPMC team to reach tumors often thought to be very difficult and risky to reach through conventional surgery techniques.

The complexity of the treatable tumors and the experience of the surgical team represent a unique international experience.

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