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Patient Testimonials and Pituitary Tumor Resources

 Acoustic Neuroma: Success Stories

Kim A., Maineville, OH
It all started when I visited my doctor because I had been feeling lightheaded and needed to "pop" my right ear all the time. I had an MRI to look for the trouble. My family doctor called to tell me I had a 3cm acoustic neuroma, and needless to say, we were shocked. I was a healthy person and never would have thought this was what was causing my problems. My husband and I made an appointment with the "best" brain surgeon in our area. We were appalled. He recommended a translab surgery, which would have made a hole the size of a silver dollar in my skull. He also told me:
  • I would be paralyzed for 6 months to a year on the operative side of my face
  • The hearing would be sacrificed on my operative ear
  • They would remove bone from my skull and fat from my abdomen for reconstruction
  • I would be in the hospital for a week
  • My operative eye would probably not open and close in its own
  • I would have to have a stint inserted in my cheek and gold weight in my eyelid.
This surgeon had nothing to offer but gloom and doom. When I asked if there were other options, his exact words were "Sure, you could always decide to not have the surgery, I could always use a day off to go shooting." My husband and I couldn't believe our ears.

After leaving that appointment, I cried for 2 days, then started my own research. That's when I came across the Skull Base Institute. I read that Dr. Shahinian had developed a technique called the "endoscopic approach", which only requires a dime-size hole, shorter hospital stay, less follow-up, and far fewer complications.

I did not make this decision lightly. After discussing my options with my primary care physician (and him doing his own research), we agreed that the less-invasive "endoscopic" surgery was the best option.

I contacted Dr. Shahinian's office and he called me personally that day. I had my MRI results overnighted to him and he called me the next day to tell me I was a perfect candidate for the endoscopic approach! He gave me names and phone numbers of previous patients and invited me to contact them so I could hear their stories of recovery. I faxed a 3-page list of questions to him and Dr. Shahinian answered my questions and listened to my concerns for over 2 hours that evening. My husband and I were so impressed with his kindness and knowledge. We decided right then that he was the man for the job.

We flew out to LA on Tuesday and met with Dr. Shahinian. I can honestly say I was never nervous about the surgery because Dr. Shahinian was always there for my family and me. It was the best decision we've ever made. I was only in the hospital 3 days. There was no paralysis, no follow-up, no gold weight or stint. I was back at work 4 weeks after brain surgery.

I don't know what I would have done without Dr. Shahinian's expertise, kindness and genuine caring attitude. He is one of a kind. I can honestly say that I would never let anyone else touch my skull or the skull of anyone I love.

I hope that "old school" doctors will decide to learn from Dr. Shahinian in the best interest of their patients.

I know firsthand how underhanded some other doctors can be. Before I contacted Dr. Shahinian, I sent for some information from another medical group. I received their packet, but they used the "same old" approach so I wasn't interested. One of their surgeons contacted me several times (like soliciting) and refused to take "no" for an answer. He wanted to know why I was choosing Skull Base Institute and proceeded to "talk down" Dr. Shahinian and his endoscopic technique. Then when he found out that I wasn't going to change my mind, he asked me if he could sit in on my surgery!

I told Dr. Shahinian the story later and he just said in his kind voice that some doctors feel that the old way works, so why learn a new and better approach? You know the old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks"?

Dr. Shahinian is an extraordinary surgeon and human being. I hope that the "old dogs" choose to follow his ways and broaden their knowledge.


Kim A.
Maineville, Ohio

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