New surgery to reverse gigantism symptoms

March 13, 2007

U.S. surgeons are to perform a new type of procedure next week to reverse symptoms of a rare form of gigantism that is enlarging a man's features.

Alexander Liss, 27, of Indianapolis suffers from acromegaly, an unusual condition caused by a brain tumor deep in his pituitary gland. As a result, an overproduction of growth hormones has made his hands, feet and facial features grow beyond normal, producing tremendous joint pain.

What's described as a revolutionary new, minimally invasive form of brain surgery will be performed Monday by Dr. Hrayr Shahinian, founder of the Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles. During the two-hour surgical procedure Shahinian will remove the tumor using a specially designed endoscope inserted via one of Liss' nostrils.

Following the procedure, Shahinian expects Liss to be discharged from the hospital within 48 hours.

The procedure is an alternative to a traditional 12-hour craniotomy that involves sawing off the top portion of the patient's skull to reach the brain and then correcting the abnormality.

The new procedure has been detailed in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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