Skull base surgery provides access to tumors, bone malformations, aneurysms and other conditions occurring in the eye socket, nasal cavity, the lower portion of the cranium or bones surrounding the inner ear. Specialists in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery are an essential part of the team in many of these highly delicate and precise procedures, helping ensure form and function of the facial structures.
Skull Base Surgery: Why Choose Johns Hopkins Facial Plastic Surgery?
- The surgical experts in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery work in close collaboration with colleagues in neurosurgery, head and neck surgery and other specialties.
- Our surgeons bring experience and superior skill to endoscopic and other surgical techniques designed to have minimal impact on surrounding tissues and structures.
- From surgeons to staff, our entire team focuses on your health and well-being, and will support your experience with knowledgeable care, clear communication and compassion.
Skull Base Surgery: What to Expect
If you are having skull base surgery to address a brain tumor, cranial malformation, aneurysm or other condition, your surgical team will work closely with you to develop an individualized plan, including preparation for surgery, recovery, and rehabilitation.
Your surgery may involve an open technique such as craniotomy, which is surgical removal of a piece of the skull. The bone piece is returned to its position after the surgery, or the surgeons replace it with a bone graft or a specially fitted piece created from other materials.
Many patients with a condition requiring skull base surgery are candidates for less invasive endoscopic techniques. In these procedures, the surgeon accesses the skull base with a long, narrow device passed through a small incision in the nose or eyelid.
Minimally invasive procedures like these can mean less bleeding, scarring and discomfort, and a faster recovery compared to open techniques.
A craniotomy procedure means a stay in the hospital of 3 to 7 days. Endoscopic procedures involve a shorter stay. Once your procedure is over, you stay for a while in the recovery room for observation.
You will then go to the neurocritical care unit, or NCCU. This unit provides care and support delivered by professionals who are specially skilled in caring for brain surgery patients.
Your care team will frequently assess your brain function during your stay, asking you questions, checking your eyes, asking you to perform simple tasks and carefully monitoring you for any signs of abnormal swelling, infection or other complication.
Once you are ready, your surgeon will release you and you can go home or to a rehabilitation unit. We will ensure you have all the instructions you need to make an optimal recovery, including:
- How to care for your incision
- What symptoms to expect as you heal
- When to return for follow up
- When you can resume driving, work and other activities
- Any warning signs that need your doctor’s immediate attention.
Kofi Boahene, M.D. is board certified in both otolaryngology—head and neck surgery and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, which gives him a unique and comprehensive level of expertise.