In this health video learn how a new procedure lets doctors remove brain tumors through a patient's nose.
Read the full transcript »
Jeniffer Mathews: The simple things in life have become quite challenging for Howard Katz. Howard Katz: I basically have only about 20 percent vision in this left eye. Jeniffer Mathews: He strains to read, his walking is unsteady, and he even had to give up his favorite pastime, softball. Howard Katz: I can't hit the ball, and it's kind of dangerous trying to catch the ball. Jeniffer Mathews: A benign brain tumor about the size of an egg is pressing against Howard's optic nerve. Today, surgeons will remove it without ever cutting into his skull. Marc Mayberg: Previously, removing this tumor required opening up the skull and going in through the brain to remove it. Now, this kind of tumor can be removed primarily through the nose. Jeniffer Mathews: First, doctors map the tumor's exact location in the brain. Then, they use a navigation system to guide them to the site. Video cameras allow them to see precisely where the probe is inside the skull. Marc Mayberg: Once the patient's head is connected to the scan coordinates, then anywhere the probe travels inside the head shows up on the screen with a very high accuracy.. Jeniffer Mathews: Surgeons use thin instruments to go through the nasal passage to the brain. Special tools disintegrate the tumor then either suction or remove it in small pieces through Katz's nostril. Howard Katz: It's still hard to believe that they could go into my brain through my nose. Jeniffer Mathews: The tumor is out, Howard will go home tomorrow and his vision won't stop him now. This is Jeniffer Mathews reporting.