Skull Base Surgery

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The skull is made of bones and cartilage that form the face and the cranium, which surrounds the brain. The skull base is a platform of bone that separates the brain cavity from the rest of the face and head. Lesions of the skull base can be treated by different approaches.

Few frequently asked questions about skull based surgery:

What is Skull Base Surgery?

It is a highly specialized, multi-disciplinary, minimally invasive surgical technique which combines the skills of otolaryngology, neurosurgery, neuro-radiology, anaesthesia, intensive care medicine, and physical and rehabilitative medicine with corresponding skilled nursing care. Before deciding the skull base surgery, it involves evaluating, diagnosing and treating benign or cancerous growths located on the underside of the brain, the base of the skull and the upper vertebrae of the spinal column. The term "skull base surgery" encompasses an approach to many different diseases found in this area.

What are the conditions treated by Skull Base surgery?

Skull base surgery may be performed for conditions such as meningiomas, pituitary tumors, cerebrospinal fluid fistulas, craniopharyngiomas, hemifacial spasms, carniostenosis, cerebral aneurysms, trigeminal neuralgia and vestibulocochlear nerve disorders etc.

How is Skull Base Surgery performed and who performs it?

The skull base surgeons use special instruments inserted through the skull’s natural openings nose, mouth and above the eyes to operate rather than accessing the brain by making an opening in the skull. The surgery is performed by a team of surgeons including otolaryngologists, neurosurgeon will perform the surgery with assistance from supervised residents.

Will I need any tests before surgery?

Prior to the surgery, few tests like complete blood picture, chest X-ray, EKG, and a history and physical examination reports are required.

Patients with underlying cardiac or lung disorders require clearance from their cardiologist and pulmonologist prior to the surgery.

Do I need to follow a special diet?

There are no dietary restrictions unless you follow a special diet for other reasons. A healthy, well-balanced diet containing adequate amounts of protein, fruits, and vegetables is a good advice for everyone.

How long will the surgery take?

This depends on the procedure, the location, the patient’s condition and the surgical approach. Surgeon will discuss the specifics of your case with you. After surgery you will recover in the Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU) or the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit (NSICU).

What is the recovery time for skull base surgeries?

Recovery time depends upon the type of procedure performed, your age, and health before the procedure. Prior to surgery your physician will review the expected recovery period and any restrictions to physical activity, including projected time off from work or school, along with any driving restrictions.

What about my medications before and after surgery?

Stop NSAIDs seven days prior to surgery. If you are on some anticoagulants, discuss stopping it with the prescribing doctor. Your surgeon may want you to take some of your medications, such as blood pressure medications, the morning of surgery with a small sip of water. Avoid alcohol use and cigarettes.

After the surgery, you will advised certain medications including antibiotics, pain medication, and medications to control your acidity.

Should I have to follow any restrictions in my daily activities?

Patients are encouraged to get up and start walking as soon as they are physically able. Lifting heavy weights is restricted, otherwise other activities may be resumed as per individual’s case and advised by your doctor. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions if required.

When should I call the doctor post-surgery?

If you are experiencing fever, redness, or discharge from the wound, increased tenderness, or wound separation or any new symptoms that concern you, call your surgeon immediately. Also, visit your surgeon or nurse within a few days of returning home to provide an update on your progress and arrange for your follow-up visit.

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