Two UMC surgeons bring innovative surgery to Tucson

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Two surgeons at University Medical Center have brought an innovative technique to Tucson.

The procedure allows them to remove some brain tumors through the nose.

For the last 20 years Rudolph Benitez has been getting treatment for glaucoma.

But only recently did doctors notice something curious about his condition.

"They needed an MRI and a CAT scan and then they looked at it and then they said well I had a pituitary tumor," said Benitez.

Doctors told benitez without surgery he would lose his eyesight.  The recommendation was a procedure that would remove the tumor through his nose.

"I thought you know that's pretty unique, I said you know lets do it," said patient Rudolph Benitez.

The surgery combines the skills of a neurosurgeon and an Ear, Nose and Throat expert to extract the tumor.

"A patient will be lying on a table like this, myself will be on side directing the scope as well as the suction or another instrument and then my colleague will be on the other side of the table with 2 instruments to the nose taking out the tumor," said UA Chief of Otolaryngology Alexander Chiu M.D.

The old way of getting to the tumor was through an incision under the upper lip or cutting out a piece of the skull.

The new technique is less invasive.

"There are no facial incisions there's no prolonged recovery time because of swelling, we get right to the tumor as a result we don't have to lift up on the brain or the nerves and there's less risk of damage to them as well," said Chiu.

The surgeons say that if it weren't for the new technology procedures like this one would be almost impossible.

"It would be a lot harder, one of the reasons why we love our image guidance system which acts like a GPS, because it keeps us out of trouble," said Chiu.

The system also drastically cuts recovery time.  Allowing patients like benitez to get back to their normal lives.

"Three days afterwards I'm out going out to dinner you know going to restaurants, visiting friends and not having to worry about anything," said Benitez.

The surgery takes between two to five hours.

And the surgeons have already operated on a number of people from around Arizona and they suspect that they will get request from people around the county and the world.