Dr. Sunil Patel advances endoscopic removal of brain tumors
Dr. Sunil Patel is Clinical Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at MUSC. For 12 years he has been a national leader in the use of minimally invasive surgery to remove tumors of the base of the brain, such as pituitary tumors and meningiomas.
Endoscopy is a technique that has been widely used in many areas of the body and for in the last decade its use has expanded as a treatment for brain tumors. Tumors at the base of the brain have been particularly challenging and traditionally a microscope was used to perform surgery through the nostrils.
As the technology of endoscopy has improved, Dr. Patel has used this technique to treat other types of brain tumors. The endoscope allows an up-close view of the center of the brain without having to open the skull or disrupt brain tissue. The endoscope is about as thick as a pencil lead and contains a camera with two tiny lenses that projects three dimensional images onto a monitor that guides the neurosurgeon during the procedure.
Tumors the size of a golf ball can be extracted through a half-inch hole in the skull with minimal adverse consequences for the patient, who is often able to go home the day after surgery. Dr. Patel has successfully removed mengiomas, chordomas, and nasopharyngeal tumors that have spread into the brain. Using this technique, he has also removed tumors that have originated from the brain tissue itself.
Dr. Patel predicts that the next area where endoscopy will be used is the treatment of cerebral aneurysms, or outpouchings of the walls of small arteries in the brain.
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