Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery for Children

When many people think of brain surgery, they think of a lengthy recovery and extensive scarring or plastic surgery. Today that’s not always the case. The Brain Care Institute at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is a regional and national leader in performing minimally invasive procedures. Sometimes called keyhole surgery, doctors use smaller incisions, which can mean:

  • Less pain
  • Less scarring
  • Faster healing
  • Shorter hospital stays

Endoscopic Endonasal and Neuroendoport® Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery

Over the past decade, surgeons at UPMC have pioneered two minimally invasive neurosurgical techniques known as the Endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) and Neuroendoport surgery. These techniques have the potential to be safer and more effective than conventional surgery in children with certain life-threatening conditions, including brain tumors. Neurosurgeons at Children’s are also highly skilled in the minimally invasive treatment of hydrocephalus using endoscopic techniques.

Endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA): A new approach to brain surgery.

EEA is an innovative surgical technique used to remove brain tumors and lesions — some as large as softballs — through the nose and nasal passages. A specially designed endoscope provides light and a lens for viewing and transmitting internal images. Highly crafted instruments are used alongside the endoscope for removing the tumor. At the Brain Care Institute, our multidisciplinary team has developed and refined this technique for use in children, making them among the most experienced pediatric experts in the world.

Here are some benefits of EEA:

  • No facial incisions or disfigurement
  • Less trauma to the brain and critical nerves
  • The possibility of fewer side effects
  • Faster recovery time than with traditional surgery

Neuroendoport surgery

Neuroendoport Surgery may be used to reach tumors and lesions deep in the brain, such as:

  • Gliomas
  • Juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas (JPAs)
  • Colloid cysts

Developed at UPMC, the Neuroendoport allows surgeons to operate through a narrow tube — the circumference of a dime — to reach tumors with minimal trauma to the surrounding brain tissue.

Some of the benefits of the Neuroendoport technique are:

  • A tiny incision and minimal scarring
  • Less manipulation of brain and critical nerves
  • The possibility of fewer side effects and complications
  • Faster recovery time than with traditional surgery

Endoscopic management of hydrocephalus

Neurosurgeons at UPMC Children’s Hospital have significant expertise in the minimally invasive endoscopic treatment of hydrocephalus, a very common pediatric disorder. Endoscopic intraventricular surgery allows surgeons to directly treat an obstruction to the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid circulation (endoscopic cyst fenestration) and/or to bypass the area of obstruction (endoscopic third ventriculostomy, endoscopic septostomy).