CINCINNATI – A one-of-a-kind surgery has reached the Tri-State and University Hospital doctors are excited to do more like it. Physicians are now able to remove brain tumors through a patient’s nose. University Hospital is the only hospital in the region to offer this type of procedure. 9 News spoke with one patient, Dawn Burkhardt, who chose to have the surgery and says she is thankful she went through with it. Burkhardt says she’s is in good spirits now, after less than a year ago she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor which caused her major vision problems.
“One day I was sitting on the patio and I closed my left eye only looking out of my right eye and it looked like the tops of the trees were waving and the wind was not blowing,” Burkhardt shared.
She went to a neuro-surgeon to get some options. “He looked into the eye and he could see that the optic nerve was swollen,” she said.
The tumor was on the outside of Burkhardt’s brain, right behind the skull. To remove it, a very delicate procedure that only two doctors at University Hospital were able to perform would be necessary.
They decided to remove the tumor through Burkhardt’s nose. Dr. Lee Zimmer, from University Hospital, showed 9 News where the tumor was and how they were able to remove it. “What we did is we removed all this tumor here and then removed tumor away from the Optic nerve and opened up the bone around the optic nerve to decompress the nerve and that allows the nerve to obtain the appropriate amount of vascular or blood supply to it and hopefully prevent further visual loss,” Dr. Zimmer said.
After the procedure Burkhardt said she felt no pain and hardly any scars. “I feel fine, I’ve never had any trouble. I had 28 radiation treatments over the winter, and I didn’t have trouble with that either,” she said. The doctors at UC Hospital would like to do more of these procedures. They are working to train more surgeons to make this happen.
“It’s very unique, there’s probably only a handful of centers across the United States that perform this type of work on the volumes that we do at the University of Cincinnati,” Zimmer said. Burkhardt said she’s thankful her vision is getting better sand she owes it to the surgeons. “I trusted them and I had a lot of faith, and I’ve gotten a lot of prayers and I always hope that I’m led to the right people and so far I have been,” Burkhardt explained.
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