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9-Year-Old Temecula boy With Tumor Since Birth has it Successfully Removed at Skull Base Institute, to go Home in Time for Thanksgiving

Thanks to a new type of intraoperative imaging technology and the steady hands of a Skull Base Surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, a 9-year-old boy who has had a tumor since birth will be home -- tumor free -- in time for Thanksgiving.

LOS ANGELES (November 20, 1998) -- This Thanksgiving, Benjamin Smith and his family have something special to celebrate. The 9-year-old from Temecula, CA, will be home in time for Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings -- and he will be tumor-free. On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Hrayr Shahinian, M.D., director of the Skull Base Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, successfully removed a teratoma that Smith has had since birth. On Thursday, the boy was transferred out of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and he is expected to go home on Monday or Tuesday, Nov. 23 or 24.

When he was an infant, doctors had removed part of the tumor (through his mouth), but were unable to get all of it. Over the years it continued to grow, and blindness was almost inevitable unless the tumor could be removed. In fact, earlier this year, the tumor, which was located under the nerve to Smith's left eye and in front of his carotid artery, communicated between his brain and his sinuses, resulting in a severe infection which was transmitted from his sinus to his brain, and then on to his left eye.

Worse still, was the fact that this type of tumor has the potential for malignant degeneration. In other words, while it was initially not cancerous, it could have become malignant -- and capable of metastasizing at any time.

Using a new type of technology, known as Intraoperative Duplex scanning, Dr. Shahinian was ble to remove the tumor in its entirety -- even though it was actually touching the nerve to his left eye. "The Intraoperative Duplex Scan was extremely valuable, as it constantly showed us how close we were to the artery," says Dr. Shahinian. "This level of precision enabled us to remove the tumor without damaging the blood vessel."

Intraoperative Duplex scanning, which provides surgeons with both visual and auditory images of a tumor or trauma site, was used for the first time at Cedars-Sinai last August.