An Iowa City brain surgeon is among the first in the Midwest to use a new surgical technique that sounds unorthodox but which he says streamlines the entire process. Doctor Jeremy Greenlee, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Iowa, says the innovative technique is called endoscopic trans-nasal brain surgery.
Dr. Greenlee says “It’s a newer technique where we insert endoscopes and instruments through the nose itself to remove usually pituitary tumors right at the base of the brain. It’s a less invasive way to get to the tumors that normally require a larger, more open type exposure in the past.” The endoscope is a thin fiber optic tube that lets the surgeon see well without making a large incision. He says the procedure uses the approach of going through the nose to access tumors in hard-to-reach areas of the brain and even the spine.
Greenlee says “The benefit is the patients tend to have less post-operative pain and faster recoveries and shorter hospital stays.” He learned the technique through special training in Australia, working with a world-reknown Syndey surgeon who has perfected the procedure. Greenlee says in the past year, he’s done 25 or 30 surgeries in Iowa City using the technique.
He says he’s almost certainly the first in Iowa to use the technique and one of very few in the Midwest to offer it, though he says more and more surgeons are seeing the advantages of this practice and will start using it. Patients who are subjected to the new technique may only have a three-day hospital stay where those opting for the traditional method may be there at least five days.