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Keyhole Surgery

A type of endoscopic surgery, the keyhole approach for treating complex skull base tumors involves making very small, dime-sized openings hidden in the eyebrow or hairline. This advanced surgical procedure gives our highly trained neurosurgeons access to the most challenging to reach areas deep within the brain without potentially injuring the delicate surrounding structures or functions.

The technical demands of performing keyhole surgery for neurological conditions require experienced and skilled skull base specialists for the very best outcomes. NorthShore’s Neurological Institute is one of the only health systems in the Chicago area featuring a completely fellowship-trained team in skull base surgery, headed by neurosurgeon Ricky Wong, MD.

Our experts employ the keyhole approach to reach difficult-to-access tumors or to treat conditions such as brain aneurysms in areas often surrounded by sensitive anatomy such as nerves, blood vessels and the brain itself. Compared to conventional approaches, this minimally invasive technique dramatically decreases surgery time, reduces hospitalization, speeds recovery and leads to improved outcomes and cosmetic appearance.

During keyhole procedures, our specialists use state-of-the-art brain mapping technology that precisely guides the placement of a one-inch incision within the eyebrow or hairline. Through this incision, a small opening is made in the bone of the skull. A combination of specialized microscopes and high-definition special endoscopes enable our experts to visualize the tumor and create a true three-dimensional view of the surgical field. For extremely difficult cases, our team utilizes NorthShore’s simulation lab to ensure the keyhole approach can safely and effectively be performed. Once the tumor is removed, the hole in the bone is replaced and the skin is closed. Patients typically stay in the hospital for only one or two days after a keyhole surgery.

Ongoing advancements in keyhole surgery for skull base tumors are expanding its use. While a growing number of patients qualify for this sophisticated cutting-edge procedure, it may not be appropriate or possible for everyone. Your NorthShore Neurological Institute surgeon can explain your options, determine if you are an appropriate candidate and tailor your surgical treatment to meet your specific needs.