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Treatments

The skull base surgery program offers many treatment options to accomplish dual goals: to treat the patient's condition, and to achieve the highest quality of life. These treatments range from open procedures for more involved diseases, advanced minimally invasive endoscopic procedures, and non-invasive options, sometimes in combination, and all tailored to the patient's disease and treatment needs.

With so many options available, and many different diseases treated, each patient's treatment plan is customized based on a number of factors. This includes the location of the affected area or areas, the stage of the disease, and the person's age and general health. The team spends time with patients to discuss every step of the process, from workup, to treatment, and follow-up.

Because of the complexity of caring for these types of problems and wanting multi-disciplinary team input to offer patients the most comprehensive yet understandable options, the team meets to discuss each individual case in regular Head and Neck/Skull Base and Pituitary Multi-Disciplinary Conferences.

Observation

In some cases, observation is most warranted. For certain types of diseases, treatment may not be immediately necessary unless there are concerning symptoms or changes seen on examination or diagnostic testing. Appropriate monitoring of symptoms and the size, shape, and location of a patient's tumor, as well as quality of life assessments can all be a part of this process and in determining an individual's best course of care.

Surgery

The surgical team will work to remove the diseased tissue, while preserving surrounding healthy tissue. If the patient has a very large or complex tumor, the procedure may involve a team of two or more specialists operating at the same time. Sometimes radiation, chemotherapy, or both are used in addition to surgery. Some tumors are better treated with surgery first, while others may be better treated with surgery after other therapies. Options include:

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Minimally Invasive Surgery

Skilled in performing traditional, open craniotomies, BMC's surgical team also excels at endoscopic, minimally invasive skull base surgery. Some of the innovations in this type of surgery and studies looking at their effectiveness were pioneered at BMC.

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Palliative Care

Palliative care is any treatment that focuses on reducing symptoms, improving quality of life, and supporting patients and their families. Any person, regardless of age or type of condition, may receive palliative care. It works best when palliative care is started as early as needed in the treatment process, as it can be an integral part of a patient's overall care plan to treat and alleviate symptoms and side effects.

Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, emotional support, and other therapies. They are designed to treat the patient's physical, emotional, and social needs.