GHSU doctor uses rare surgical procedure to remove brain tumor through nose

Brain tumors
Dr. Arturo Solares at GHSU removed a patient's brain tumor through her nose. (WRDW-TV / Feb. 20, 2012)
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News 12 at This Morning / Monday, Feb. 20, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Dedo Maranville leads an active lifestyle, but a few years ago she thought it was all coming to an end.

"I was shooting skeet, and I couldn't see," Maranville recalled.

After a few visits to the doctors, they found she had a brain tumor.

"It was like life was over," she said.

Her vision was impaired because the tumor was pushing up against her optic nerve, which sends information from your eyes to the brain.

Dr. Arturo Solares, who treated Maranville, said the tumor was above her pituitary gland. This is the part of your body that regulates your hormones. Even though Maranville's small tumor was growing at a snail's pace, doctors were still worried it would affect hormone levels in her entire body.

"What we've done traditionally is do a craniotomy, where you open the skull on the side and lift the brain out of the way and then remove the tumor," Solares explained.

The idea is a scary one to think about since doctors manipulate the entire brain.

"You know, that was my brain. The brain controls everything," Maranville said.

Doctors had another option, one that isn't offered many places throughout the country. At GHSU, Solares was trained to do what is called an endonasal brain tumor removal.

"By doing it through the nose, we really don't have to touch the brain, we go directly to the tumor," Solares said.

Solares performs the procedure by going through those nostrils and surgically navigating the brain to access the tumor in order to remove it without cutting open her skull.

"The patients tend to have a faster and easier recovery time," he said.

It was a no-brainer for Maranville, whose tumor is now completely gone.

Maranville's tumor was benign. The main reason they had to remove it was because it was affecting her overall health. In many cases similar to hers, benign tumors are left alone. Solares says as endonasal brain tumor removal becomes more popular, more doctors may turn to the procedure rather than performing traditional brain surgery.