New type of brain tumor surgery done through nose

August 29, 2011 4:52:52 PM PDT
A new type of brain surgery can be done without a single cut on the scalp. It's a through-the-nose brain surgery that is not only easier, but safer for those with a tumor in the base of the skull. We have the story of a 29-year-old former Marine, who went in search of the best surgery for his brain tumor.

Neurosurgeon Dr. David Baskin had good news for the family of 29-year-old Gary Pierce. The tumor on his pituitary gland, which was dangerously close to the optic nerve, was gone.

The former Marine's vision was spared, in part because Dr. Baskin removed the tumor without an ear-to-ear cut. Pierce's tumor was removed through his nose.

"His story is an incredibly happy one," Dr. Baskin said. "We're able to peel the tumor off the carotid artery, spare the artery; we're able to peel the tumor off the remaining pituitary gland."

Done with a scope and TV camera that's so flexible it's like a wet noodle, Dr. Baskin sends it through the nostril, bends it to see while cutting the tumor out and removes it through Pierce's nose.

"I'm actually not real sore in here today," Pierce said.

One day later, he is relieved, grateful he's not blind and his headaches were gone.

"I'm really glad it's over with, and I got the tumor out and I don't have to worry about it anymore," he said.

"You're going in for brain surgery, you think the worst," said his wife, Tenisha Pierce.

Not all brain tumors can be removed through the nose; it depends on the location.

"Some of the doctors I talked to, they just seemed like they weren't really confident in doing it. And I didn't want someone that was not confident doing the surgery," Gary Pierce said.

They found Dr. Baskin on the Internet. He was one of the first do perform the through-the nose-brain surgeries. And now, this young father is feeling confident, as he goes home feeling whole.


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