You never want to hear the words: “You have a brain tumor.” Larry and Sandy Tibbing were still attempting to make sense of the terrifying diagnosis given. No one wants to hear these awful words, especially a young couple expecting a baby. Larry was experiencing constant ringing in his ears. After suffering balance issues, he visited the Emergency Room where doctors concluded nothing was wrong. Rather than accept this, Larry met with his family physician who ordered an MRI. The results were devastating. Larry had Acoustic Neuroma; a slow-growing group of non-cancerous cells consisting of a tissue-growing tumor situated in his eighth cranial nerve region.
To appreciate the dangerous situation, the eighth cranial nerve operates by sending signals through the brain to balance and sound sections of the inner ear. Lying next to the eighth cranial nerve, the seventh cranial nerve operates facial function. Both the seventh and eighth cranial nerves run through an internal auditory canal. The sheath of this canal is the tumors origin. The correct terminology for Larry’s tumor is Vestibular Schwannoma, commonly and incorrectly referred to as Acoustic Neuroma. When left untreated, this tumor grows to large proportions eventually pushing aside the brain and entering the base of the skull; the cerebellopontine angle.
Surgeons informed Larry and Sandy they had one option. Receive high risk surgery involving a large incision behind his ear followed by the opening of his skull. His aftercare would include many weeks in ICU followed by weeks of rehabilitative therapy. Rather than accept this, Sandy researched other options and found Dr. Shahinian at The Skullbase Institute. After reviewing the MRI and constant consultations with Larry and Sandy, Dr. Shahinian performed two minimally invasive surgeries. Dr. Shahinian made a hole no larger than a dime behind Larry’s mastoid bone and inserted highly advanced endoscopic instruments. Without requiring dangerous brain manipulation, the surgery resulted in the successful removal of Larry’s tumor.
Larry’s tumor could have been fatal, at the very least left him in a vegetative state. Instead, Dr. Shahinian removed the tumor without affecting delicate arteries, vessels and brain regions. Today Larry and Sandy enjoy a happy life. Sandy gave birth to Larry’s daughter the following June. They named her Faith, after Dr. Shahinian.
This success story is possible because of Dr. Shahinian’s Skullbase Institute. Patients with head and neck tumors, Pituitary, Pineal, Acoustic Neuroma, Meningioma, Chordoma and Craniopharyngioma afforded minimally invasive surgery. Individuals receive advanced treatment for facial disorders of Trigeminal Neuralgia, Hemifacial Spasms and reconstruction for Craniosynostosis deformities at the Facial Pain, Spasm and Paralysis Center of the Institute. The endoscopic techniques include vascular diseases of AVM’s, Cerebral Aneurysms and Rathke’s, Arachnoid Cysts. Dr. Shainian’s devotion to skull base surgery has resulted in over 4,500 success stories.