Supra-Orbital Craniotomy

Posted: August 23rd, 2009 under health.
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The transsphenoidal operation I had this past May was unsuccessful in removing the tumor (a macroadenoma) from my pituitary gland. According to my MRI, the tumor had moved up, and Dr. Florman, my neurosurgeon, wasn’t able to get to it through the nose.

We previously discussed having radiation therapy to slow down the tumor growth. However there is a risk of damaging the surrounding healthy cells and nerves. The optic nerves in front of it are especially sensitive. Dr. Florman strongly recommended that I have a supra-orbital craniotomy so that he could effectively remove enough of the tumor to allow for safer radiation therapy. Before agreeing to this type of surgery, I decided to get at least one other opinion. I saw Dr. Christensen, a neurosurgeon in Lewiston, Maine, who concurred with Dr. Florman. He held high regard for Dr. Florman and believed him to be the best for this particular surgery. I was discouraged that I really do need to undergo the surgery, yet I felt reassured that I am in good hands.

Dr. Florman explained to me the operation process, complete with the drilling, and insertion of plates and screws. It made me a little apprehensive, I admit. I am scheduled for surgery this Tuesday, August 25. This particular type of craniotomy is a subfrontal approach, so no (or very little) head shaving necessary. :-) Oh, and if someone asks me if I have a screw loose, I’ll simply say, “Uh, maybe.”


  1. Kirsten,
    I am sorry to hear that you are still fighting that pesky tumor. I sincerely hope everything goes as well as possible for you. Trying to go to school while dealing with a significant health issue must be very challenging! Try to hang in there and take good care of yourself! Keep us posted…


    Comment by Sue Amero — August 23, 2009 @ 12:38 pm

  2. Hey Woman,
    You are one brave cookie. My tumor is an agressive, recurring desmoid (not cancerous) in my abdomen wall, with a 50% chance of recurrence. And I thought that was stressful…not so much after reading about yours!

    As a dear friend of mine (yes, the quadriplegic ex-bf)says “Remember, there is ALWAYS someone who will trade places with you”. This is certainly not meant to trivialize the gravity of your situation, but I suspect there are some who would trade for your problem too…(He’s one of ’em..he’s had 30 brain and back surgeries, having had Syringomyelia for many years) He had an emergency shunt repair by Florman last year, and was quite impressed.

    I’ve gone back to the beginning to read all your posts – I remember you as being sweet and funny as hell, now I see that you’re a philosopher too! I will make a point of following your blog from now on…you’ve gained a fan. Good luck, woman! See you Wednesday or Thursday – Be well!!!

    Comment by Lisa Glines — August 24, 2009 @ 6:52 am

  3. Sue – Thank you. I appreciate your concern and support. If I don’t keep everyone posted, I know Brent will. ;-)

    Lisa – Your ex has faced quite the adversity! You have to be a pretty strong and positive person to deal with challenges like that. I’m happy to hear that about Dr. Florman though.

    Sweet, funny, and a philosopher? Lisa, you’re too kind. Ha ha! You always made me laugh. I guess I should be better about blogging regularly. ;-) I look forward to seeing you!

    Comment by Kirsten Uhler — August 24, 2009 @ 9:45 am

  4. I woke up with you on my mind this morning. I’m praying that you get through this with flying colors.

    Comment by monique — August 25, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  5. Thanks Monique! I appreciate that. I’m sure it will all go well.

    Comment by Kirsten Uhler — August 25, 2009 @ 10:16 am

  6. Kirsten, So sorry to hear what you have to undergo, but sounds like you are in good hands. I am with you in spirit. Kathy

    Comment by Kathy Longacre — August 25, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

  7. I’m so sorry you’ve had such a hard time with this. I hope the surgery went well. I’ve been thinking about you and hope to hear soon. Good luck! Love you!

    Comment by Sara Sterling — August 25, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

  8. Kathy and Sara – Thank you. I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Florman and feel that the surgery went well. With some rest and possibly a little physical therapy, I should be good as new in a few weeks.

    Comment by Kirsten Uhler — August 27, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

  9. i had a right parietal craniotomy to remove a 4.5cm pineal cyst performed by dr fenstermaker at roswell park cancer institute on january 27th 2012. the surgery took 5 hours and was a failed attempt due to an enlarged vein (3x normal size, which is rare) post op my left leg was paralyzed for 2 days. i was in icu for 2 days as well. the 3rd day i could start to move my toes and day 4 i could start to walk again. i was in the hospital for 7 days, by then i gained full mobility in my legs with mild numbness. i am now scheduled for another craniotomy on feb 25th this time its a left supraorbital endoscopic craniotomy in hopes to reach the cyst from the front of my head, avoiding the vein. IF this surgery does not work, 2 weeks post op i will have to undergo a subocciptal craniotomy through the back of my head, which is the most risky of them all. they will again have to go under the enlarged vein and go through several other major veins. I hope one of these work. pineal cysts although common do cause symptoms and require surgery, unfortunately my is a pain in the ass, that even the best neurosurgeons are having a hard time with.

    Comment by steve barnes — February 10, 2012 @ 8:42 am

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