SOURCE: OR-Live, Inc.

April 29, 2008 14:21 ET

ORLive Presents: Transnasal Endoscopic Surgery for Skull-Based Tumors

Live Webcast: From Sentara Norfolk General Hospital: May 8, 2008 at 3:00 PM EDT (19:00 UTC)

NORFOLK, VA--(Marketwire - April 29, 2008) - Surgeons at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital are the first in the area to remove a brain tumor through their patient's nostril. Brain tumors, mostly those affecting the pituitary gland, are ideally positioned just behind the nose for this advanced surgical technique.

The first part of the surgery is done by a skillful ear, nose, and throat surgeon who navigates the sinus cavity allowing direct access to these skull-based tumors. Using an endoscope -- tubing with a light and lens attached -- neurosurgeons at Norfolk General then get a panoramic view of the brain. With a more complete view, surgeons can remove the entire tumor in most cases.

Since the endoscope is passed through the patient's nostril, no incision is required. The new technique, much shorter than the traditional surgery, means no nasal packing and little pain. Most patients go home within 48 hours. This advancement contrasts sharply with the traditional approach.

Before, a patient with a pituitary tumor would have endured at least a four-hour surgery where an incision was made through their gums. Others tools would be snaked into position under their face, and a microscope would be used to view the tumor. Since the microscope had limited movement, seeing the entire tumor would be difficult.

Patient Story

For 62-year-old Ted Christian, whose temporary vision loss was attributed to a pituitary tumor, there was a silver lining. After researching his options, he found that the new, less invasive procedure was done at Norfolk General.

"I was very comfortable with all of the resources here," Christian said. "The doctors are very skillful and confident, and they had a way of making me very comfortable," he continued.

"Now people can stay closer to home, when before they may have left the area for this expertise," says Dr. Joseph Han, ear, nose and throat surgeon who has done about a hundred of these cases during his career. "A study we've just completed now proves what's been suspected for some time. Patients who have this procedure done endoscopically versus the traditional surgery do experience less pain, shorter stays, and much less bleeding," continued Han.

Called natural orifice surgery, this technique goes a step beyond minimally invasive surgery. Doctors around the country are beginning to use the body's natural passageways -- like the sinuses -- as the most direct route to some tumors, glands, and organs. With much less cutting required, this new surgical option often dramatically improves outcomes and overall recovery time.

"I went home within 24 hours with absolutely no pain. It was quite incredible that I felt that good so soon after surgery," Christian said.

This new surgery, visible live over the internet Thursday, May 8 from 3 to 4 p.m. launches Sentara's 2008 live surgery series. Dr. Joseph Koen, a neurosurgeon who also performs this procedure will serve as moderator during the live webcast. Drs. Joseph Han, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon and associate professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, and Ran Vijai Singh, neurosurgeon, will perform this innovative surgery from an operating room at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Drs. Han, Singh and Koen were involved in a local study whose findings are being presented at the 2008 American Rhinologic Society/Combined Otolaryngology Spring Meeting (April 30-May 3, 2008).

Other natural orifice surgeries. Sentara CarePlex Hospital is among only 2 hospitals in Virginia to offer removal of mid to upper rectal tumors through the anus, instead of through the abdomen. This new procedure is decreasing hospital stays from 10 days to about 24 hours with no visible scars, essentially no pain, and fewer complications.

About Pituitary Tumors. Pituitary tumors are the third most common type of primary brain tumors (those originating in the brain) in adults and account for 10-15 percent of all intra-cranial tumors.(1) Most pituitary tumors are noncancerous, grow slowly, and do not spread to other parts of the body. Symptoms resulting from a pituitary tumor's pressure on surrounding tissue may include vision loss, headaches, nausea, vomiting, decreased libido, or increased tiredness. Other symptoms caused by the tumor's production of too many hormones include heat or cold intolerance, abnormal growth, high blood pressure, loss of menstrual periods in women, or breast enlargement and milk secretion.

Sentara Healthcare is a premier not-for-profit health care provider in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. For more information about Sentara or this procedure, please visit

(1) Brain Science Foundation

Visit: to learn more and view a program preview.


Contact Information

  • Contact:

    Alex Fraser
    Director of Marketing
    OR-Live, Inc.
    860-953-2900 x 214
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