Skull Base Institute Home Page
Skull Base Brain Tumor Research

Spring 2001 Update
By Joseph B. Eby M.D.

Current Research at the Skull Base Institute

As you can see from the list of publications and presentations our research program at the Skull Base institute has been extremely busy.

One exciting aspect of our clinical research over the past year centers on the novel endoscopic techniques that we have implemented in the areas of pituitary and vascular decompression surgery. Since the introduction of these methods almost two years ago we have collected outcomes data on almost two hundred patients, and have compared these results to those published for the traditional open microscopic techniques. These early series reports have suggested that these minimally invasive techniques result in improved surgical outcomes and have a lower incidence of complications. By publishing our endoscopic results we believe that endoscopic skull base surgery will come to be accepted as the gold standard approach to disorders of the anterior and posterior fossa. Additionally, we had the honor of presenting our early results for endoscopic vs. microscopic vascular decompression at this year’s third National A Trigeminal Neuralgia Association Con-ference in Pittsburgh, which was very well received.

As described in the case of the month we recently introduced a fully endoscopic surgical technique to guide the removal of acoustic neuromas. We are currently in the process of submitting this technique for publication. Using the endoscope allowed for improved visualization of the regional anatomy at the cerebellopontine angle and required less dissection and almost no retraction. These advantages should result in more complete tumor removal and a lower incidence of injury to the brainstem or surrounding cranial nerves.

Our basic science research in pituitary cell transplantation in a rat model has continued to progress, and we hope to have results from an early series of animals by the end of this year. Our next project set to begin in April 2001 involves the creation of an endoscopic skull base surgical atlas, which will describe our endoscopic surgical approaches to the pituitary gland, anterior and posterior fossa. We believe this atlas will provide a valuable guide to surgeons throughout the world who are beginning to utilize these new endoscopic techniques.

Other future projects involve the utilization of new intra-operative imaging technologies, as well as collaboration with the department of Neuroradiology to improve the detection of Vascular Conflicts on MRI imaging in patients suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia, and Hemifacial Spasm.