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, using the natural openings of the face instead of through incisions, using 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. Even more innovative transorbital approaches now allow surgeons to reach delicate sites through the eyelid or even through the eye socket itself.
Dr. Theodore Schwartz, who heads up the Pituitary and Anterior Skull Base Service at the Weill Cornell Medicine Brain and Spine Center, is an internationally known pioneer in endoscopic surgical techniques and has been featured widely in news articles covering this fast-developing field. Dr. Schwartz has traveled throughout the world training neurosurgeons in these advanced techniques, bringing these new surgical procedures to surgeons in China, India, and Singapore, to name a few.
Dr. Schwartz trained with otolaryngologist Vijay Anand, a world-renowned endoscopic sinus surgeon who was instrumental in developing image guidance in endoscopic sinus surgery and anterior skull base surgery. The team also includes our world-class team of interventional neuroradiologists and other experts in otorhinolaryngology, endocrinology, and neuro-ophthalmology.