Eyelid brain surgery

September 12, 2008 8:15:30 AM PDT
Imagine the feeling of being told.you have a brain tumor. A new approach to brain surgery, developed by a surgeon from Pennsylvania, could make the treatment a bit less traumatic.

Bettie Saunders has a sunny personality, and loves a good laugh.

But that good nature was tested with a real health scare.

Dr. Khaled Aziz, a neurosurgeon at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, describes his first meeting with Bettie. "She presented with headaches, and she had some problems with her smell. And she had memory disturbances. And it was found that she had about one and a half inch tumor sitting on the skull base on the front, causing some brain swelling around it."

The ping pong ball-sized tumor wasn't cancerous, but still, it had to come out.

To remove it, Dr. Aziz used a technique he created - to remove tumors like Bettie's through the eyelid.

"That's the tumor here, " says Dr. Aziz as he looks at Bettie's X-rays. "That's the nose, and what we do is that we go underneath the brain."

With just a small amount of brow bone taken out to make room, Bettie's tumor was completely removed through a very small incision on her eyelid.

This is Bettie right after surgery, where the swelling is obvious.

This is Bettie's eye just two months after surgery.

The scar is barely visible.

Bettie wears a broad smile as she says, "All my muscles work, I can move my eyes just like I could before."

Dr. Aziz says the procedure spares patients trauma, "Definitely, it's less pain. It's a smaller incision. Cosmetically it's much better because you don't have any problems with the muscles there. So it's when it, when it's done in the proper way, and it has an excellent cosmetic result."

Doctor Aziz is also using the technique to remove life-threatening brain aneurysms.

But, it can only be used for very specific problems in the frontal area.

Still, the doctor thinks it will become a very common procedure in the future.


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