Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

University of Florida is the premiere center in the state with a comprehensive program focused on malignant and benign skull base tumors

The University of Florida Department of Otolaryngology at the UF College of Medicine – part of UF Health, the Southeast’s most comprehensive academic health center – is one of the few centers in the Southeastern United States with a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program focused on children and adults with malignant and benign skull base tumors. Comprising neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists, radiologists, endocrinologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists, the UF team is recognized as experts at diagnosing and treating the broad range of anterior and lateral skull base tumors.

Treating skull base tumors is challenging due to their location deep within the head, near critical nerves and blood vessels. Through the integration of leading-edge technologies, such as virtual surgical planning and 3D modeling, the UF team aims to safely remove tumors in this delicate and complex region using the least-invasive methods possible. One technique widely used by the specialists at UF Health is the minimally-invasive endoscopic endonasal approach, by which the tumor is removed entirely through the nose, without external excisions. This method enables the UF skull base team to gain access to and successfully treat tumors that even now in centers without endoscopically trained surgeons are extremely morbid.

Traditionally, whether a neurosurgeon or otolaryngologist treated lesions of the skull base, they were limited by exposure, meaning the need to make large external excisions, or visualization using the naked eye or a microscope, explains Brian Lobo, M.D., an assistant professor in the Division of Rhinology and Skull Base Surgery at the University of Florida who is an expert in advanced rhinology and endoscopic skull base surgery. “Today, our patients benefit from the collaboration between Rhinologists, Neuro-Otologists, and Neurosurgeons, which has made endoscopic endonasal surgery the standard of care for many anterior skull base lesions and enables us to avoid weeks of rehabilitation, post-operative neurological deficits, and a protracted inpatient stay in most cases.”

With the comprehensive skull base program now available at UF Health, patients in Southern Georgia, and Central Florida no longer have to travel long distances to receive world-class care.  Dr. Lobo notes that the collaboration of otolaryngology and neurosurgery has increased the number of patients he is able to serve. “Before arriving and helping establish the program, we removed almost no pituitary tumors endoscopically. Today we are fortunate to serve about five patients a month.”

The skull base specialists at UF Health perform delicate procedures every day, with one aim: to enable patients to have the best outcomes possible. 

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