surgery doctors transplant slicing 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
A technique developed by Johns Hopkins surgeons is providing a new route to get
to and remove tumors buried at the base of the skull: through the natural hole
behind the molars, above the jawbone and beneath the cheekbone.
report detailing the novel surgery, published in the October The Laryngoscope,
the surgeons say the procedure, already performed on seven patients, yields
faster recovery and fewer complications than traditional approaches. And,
because the incisions are made inside the cheek, there are no visible
Kofi Boahene, M.D., an assistant professor of facial plastic and
reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine, says the idea for the new approach came
to him when a 20-year-old female patient previously treated for a brain tumor
developed a new tumor deep in the skull base.
Traditional surgeries to
remove skull base tumors require incisions through the face and bone removal,
which can sometimes be disfiguring. Additionally, these operations can harm
facial nerves, leading to paralysis that affects facial expressions and days or
weeks of hospitalization and recovery. Boahene said he was gazing at a skull
model in his office, considering options to spare his patient from another
traditional surgery. “I looked at the ‘window' that already exists in the skull,
above the jawbone and below the cheekbone and realized this was an access route
not previously recognized for this kind of surgery,” he said.
there was always the option of switching to the traditional approach while
trying the new approach, Boahene and his colleagues performed the new procedure
on his patient last year. The expected surgery time shrunk from six hours to
two. Additionally, the patient was able to leave the hospital the next day and
return to college, with no visible evidence that she had surgery
The report in The Laryngoscope
describes details of the
surgeries on three of the seven patients Boahene and his colleagues have thus
far treated. Besides benefits for patients, he and his colleagues note, the new
procedure is significantly less complicated for surgeons to perform, provides
excellent visualization of the skull base area, and could potentially save
health care dollars due to patients’ shorter hospital stays.
patients are candidates for this procedure, Boahene cautions. It isn’t an option
for those with very large skull base tumors or those with tumors that wrap
around blood vessels. For these patients, traditional skull base surgery is
still the best choice, he says.
In the future, he and his colleagues plan
to try the new procedure using a surgical robot, which could provide even better
visualization for surgeons and further reduce chances of complications for
For more information, go to:http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/facial_plastic_reconstructive_surgery/
our_team/our_surgeons/kofi_boahene.htmlThis article was first published on www.newswise.com