sinonasal tumors (tumors of the sinuses and nasal cavities)
Skull base surgery also can be done to treat a
, encephaloceles (hernias in the brain), and some birth defects.
What Happens Before Skull Base Surgery?
Caring for children with tumors and other conditions that need skull base surgery
takes a team. Depending on a child's diagnosis, the care team of doctors may include:
an ear, nose, and throat surgeon (ENT)
To prepare for surgery, doctors will likely order a CAT scan
and/or an MRI scan. A child
may need other tests, treatments, and exams before surgery.
How Is Minimally Invasive Skull Base Surgery Done?
A child gets anesthesia
to sleep through the procedure. The surgeon will insert a thin tube with a light and
high-definition camera — called an
— in the nose. Then, the surgeon uses special tools to remove the tumor
or other growth. The endoscope lets the surgeon see the area clearly during the procedure.
How Long Does Skull Base Surgery Take?
How long the surgery takes depends on a child's condition. Usually, it takes several
What Happens After Minimally Invasive Skull Base Surgery?
Doctors will put absorbable packing material in the nose to help control bleeding.
The doctor will recommend saline (saltwater) nasal spray and antibiotic ointment to
help keep the inside of the nose moist and minimize crusting.
After surgery, a child will see the ENT surgeon regularly. The surgeon will check
healing and clean up crusting in the nose.
Depending on the diagnosis, a child also might have follow-up visits with other
specialists and other treatments, such as radiation
Kids must avoid things that increase pressure in the head for at least a month
after skull base surgery. They should not:
strain or bear down (like during a bowel movement). The doctor may recommend a
blow their noses
drink with straws
sneeze with their mouth closed
sleep flat. The doctor will usually recommend sleeping with a couple of pillows
to keep the head elevated for a week or two.
Are There Any Risks From Skull Base Surgery?
The most common problem after skull base surgery is a
(CSF) leak. CSF, the clear fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain,
can leak out of the nose if there is a hole or tear in the protective covering of
the brain. CSF leaks must be repaired.
There also is a chance of injury to blood vessels or important nerves at the base
of the skull during surgery.
Other complications of skull base surgery can include:
The conditions treated with skull base surgery are serious. Minimally invasive
skull base surgery allows for faster recovery, less pain, no scars, fewer complications,
and less chance of damage to other parts of the brain. In some cases, though, traditional
skull base surgery can be the better option.
If you have questions about your child's surgery, talk to your doctor.