Piedmont Center for Pituitary and Skull Base Surgery

Disorders and tumors of the pituitary gland and skull base present a unique and difficult challenge due to the location under the brain and among the critical blood vessels and nerves in that area. Treatment of these regions requires an experienced and skilled multidisciplinary medical team. The fellowship trained skull base surgeons at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital work with endocrinologists, ophthalmologists, radiation and medical oncologists to diagnose and treat patients who require pituitary and minimally invasive cranial base surgery. Our multidisciplinary team discusses all treatment possibilities with patients and families to create the most comprehensive treatment plan for each patient. The advanced endoscopic endonasal techniques often used to treat skull base tumors provide a faster recovery time and a shorter hospital stay compared to traditional open approaches.

Our program is led by Dr. Tyler Kenning, who has performed over 1,000 endonasal surgeries, more than any other cranial base surgeon in the state and region. Dr. Kenning focuses specifically on using anterior skull base surgery to remove tumors such as meningiomas, pituitary tumors, craniopharyngioma, juvenile angiofibromas, chordomas, and esthesioneuroblastomas. We also treat patients with non-tumorous conditions, such as cerebrospinal fluid fistulas and mucoceles. In all, we perform more than 100 such procedures each year.

The anterior skull base surgery center team includes neurosurgeons as well as otolaryngologists, also known as ear, nose, and throat specialists, who are experienced in both open craniotomy and endoscopic endonasal surgery. The craniotomy approach requires opening the skull to perform surgery, a procedure that creates visible incisions and generally requires a longer hospital stay and recovery time.

Many patients qualify for a less invasive approach: endonasal endoscopy. Instead of opening the skull to access the tumor, a tiny camera attached to a long, thin, lighted tube is inserted through the nose and sinus cavities. The neurosurgeon inserts small tools through the nasal cavity and removes the tumor using those images as a guide. The minimally invasive endoscopic approach means that, unlike open craniotomy surgery, there is no visible scarring, less postoperative discomfort, shorter hospital stays and more rapid overall recoveries.

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