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Endoscopic Endonasal Approach: A Surgical Technique for Hard-to-Reach Tumors

 

 

Decades ago, certain tumors were considered inoperable because they were in parts of the brain and skull base that were difficult to access.

Today, an array of surgical advancements — several of which were pioneered here at UPMC — are available to treat tumors in these difficult-to-reach locations.

One of these options is the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA), a technique that allows doctors to remove even very large tumors and lesions through a patient’s nose.

UPMC neurosurgeons have treated more than 2,000 patients using EEA. To learn more, visit the UPMC Neurosurgery website.

What Is EEA?

EEA is a minimally invasive procedure that allows a surgeon to treat hard-to-reach tumors without disturbing the face or skull. During EEA, the surgeon inserts a specially designed endoscope (a tube with a lighted camera at the end) through the nose and sinus cavities.

The endoscope acts as a light source and provides the surgeon with clear images of the tumor and the surrounding area. State-of-the-art surgical instruments are used alongside the endoscope to dissect and remove the tumor through the sinus cavity and nose.

EEA has a number of benefits for patients. In addition to allowing surgeons to reach and remove tumors once believed to be inoperable, advantages include:

  • No facial incisions, which reduces healing time and lets patients start other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, more quickly
  • Faster recovery time — patients can often leave the hospital within one or two days
  • Less trauma to the brain and critical nerves

Who Should Have EEA?

EEA is an option for people with tumors located at the base of the skull or the top of the spine. Before EEA, tumors located in these areas were very difficult and sometimes impossible to reach, rendering them inoperable. Your surgeon can help you understand if EEA is right for you.