In this blog entry I will describe my impressions for a course I attended March 8-9: 11th Workshop Endoscopic transphenoidal surgery: from pituitary to skull base.
The workshop was held at Bellaria Hospital in Bologna, Italy. The course director was Dr Giorgio Frank and the faculty included neurosurgeons with very long experience within the field, for example, Dr Cappabianca and Dr de Devitis from Napoli, Dr Pasquini, Bologna and Dr Laws from Boston.
Dr Laws, Boston, gave an interesting historical expose of the development of transphenoidal skull base surgery. Dr Laws has a very long experience within this field and has completed over 5,000 pituitary procedure (!).
One of the take-home messages from the course was that taking care of patients with piuitary adenomas is a team-work. Therefor there were lectures about endocrinology, neuroradiology and neuropathology.
The primary aim of the course was transphenoidal endoscopic surgery for adenomas but many lectures also dealt with extended approach making it possible to reach, for example, craniopharyngeomas, suprasellar meningeomas and germ cell tumors, and the cavernous sinus.
Dr Castelnuovo, Varese, Italy, gave a speach about sellar reconstruction. Many of the speakers later also returned to this interesting topic - how to prevent cerebrospinal fluid leakage after extended opening of the skull base. A multi-layer technique involving graft from fascia lata and mucoperiost was described. Some uses fibrin glue while other said it is not necessary.
The workshop included four live surgical procedures. For each surgical procedure a smaller group was allowed to follow the surgery in the OR. The rest followed the surgery from another room. Since the OR was equipped with an excellent camera and the separate room was equipped with a large screen projector and and large HD-screen it was very easy to follow the procedure. The cases involved both a straight forward pituitary adenoma but also more complicated cases involving suprasellar tumurs and opening of the cavernous sinus.
The combination of lectures, discussions and live surgery made this a very interesting course that I definitively can recommend.
A picture from the course in front of Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy.