Friday March 16 09:39 AM EST
"Microscopes Help Doctors With Tricky Brain Surgery"
Microscopes Help Doctors With Tricky Brain Surgery
You have a brain tumor; it's one of the scariest phrases you can hear out of a doctor's mouth.
Even if the tumor turns out not to be cancer, it can cause a lot of trouble. And one of the trickiest growths is called an acoustic tumor. But now, doctors are taking a second set of eyes to surgery to help out. Because of these new advancements, some patients have new hope.
For Tori Dix, it all began when she had a headache that wouldn't go away. A scan of her brain showed a tumor at the base of her skull. It was in a very tricky spot between the cerebellum and the brain stem. This kind of tumor is called an acoustic tumor. It's a tumor that has tentacles wrapping around the nerves that conduct hearing.
"That part of the brain is loaded, everything is important, nothing can be taken," neurosurgeon Charles Kanos told News 4's Carol Goldsmith.
Dr. Kanos specializes in removing these tumors. But the surgery is a marathon session, lasting from 10-12 hours.
"It's under the microscope and you use very small instruments because the structures are very small, and to peel the structures off the tumor, you basically operate under the microscope," Kanos said.
Because of the location of the tumor, there was a chance that Dix could lose feeling in her face, not be able to smile again or even suffer a stroke. Because the tumor involves the nerve that controls hearing, hearing loss is the most common problem with tumors like this.
"The only thing I've got is I'm deaf in one ear," Dix said.
But she says that it was a trade-off that she was willing to make.
Dr. Kanos says that the incidence of these types of tumors is about 1 in 100,000. He says that as Greenville's population continues to grow, he expects to see more of these types of tumors.
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