Skull base surgery — procedures performed not within in the brain but at the skull base behind the nose – has been transformed over the last decade, with minimally invasive techniques replacing open surgery in many cases. Top surgeons can now remove unimaginably large tumors through the nostrils instead of through incisions, using the natural openings of the face and manipulating tiny endoscopes to navigate to the lesions.
Minimally invasive endoscopic skull base surgery is often an option for pituitary tumors, meningiomas, craniopharyngiomas, and other tumors. Although many of these tumors are benign, they may destroy hormone-producing cells or secrete hormones themselves, or they may cause problems with vision, growth, fertility, or balance. Many are inaccessible through open surgery, and for those patients the endonasal route, through the nostrils, represents the only hope for a cure.