Skull Base Institute

Laurie M-S., Costa Mesa, CA

I am a 52-year-old woman who was diagnosed with a rare disorder called acromegaly caused by a 2.7cm benign pituitary tumor.

I was in constant pain, especially in my hands. I could not even hold a deck of cards. I was first misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia. I experienced a coarsening of my facial features, enlarging and numbing of my hands and feet, and carpal tunnel in both hands. I had skin changes including two sites of basal cell cancer. I had trouble sleeping because the thickening of the tissue in my throat made me snore loudly. I was borderline diabetic and had no periods for over a year. My sight was being affected, as the tumor was starting to move near the optic nerve, and I had dull headaches.

After diagnosis, I started researching the surgery to remove the tumor, called endonasal transsphenoidal procedure. The only type of surgery I could find at first would have cut me under my lip or on the inside of my nose and put me in the hospital for 5 to 7 days. It required two surgeons to complete the surgery. I made many calls and had a consultation with a well-known doctor in Orange County.

During my Internet searching, I came across an article that said the surgery could be done without cutting, by using an endoscope. It said that the surgeon has to be especially talented. I made many inquiries specifically asking for this “no cutting” procedure. After more research, I found only three doctors in the United States that could do it: one in Pittsburgh, one in Virginia and one in California. Finally I found the Skull Base Institute and Dr. Shahinian right here at Cedars-Sinai!

I made an appointment immediately and was completely impressed by the professional warmth of the entire staff. Dr. Shahinian looked me square in the eye and said he believed he could get my entire tumor. He thoroughly explained the surgery and recovery time. I felt immediate trust, and my entire family felt I made a good choice.

I had the endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal procedure and was only in the hospital for two nights. There was very little pain, only some swelling. One week later, I felt good enough to go to the local mountains for a conference I attend every year!

Within one week, it looked like I had a facelift – my skin had thinned back to normal. In time, my hands and feet shrunk down to almost normal with no more pain and no more carpal tunnel syndrome. My diabetes went away, and my hormones started working properly again as Dr. Shahinian was able to save my pituitary gland!

In the past several years, I have been in remission. MRIs have proven that there is NO sign of any tumor. Last February, my current doctor told me that after one more growth hormone test he also would consider me cured…and I am!

I have Dr. Shahinian’s superb skill as a surgeon to thank not only for getting the entire tumor, but also for allowing me a quick recovery, and most of all for not having to cut my face. He saved my insurance company and me thousands of dollars with the short hospital stay.

I tell everyone about the miracle he performed for me.

There are many patients out there who would benefit from a surgeon with the skill of Dr. Shahinian. Doctors should put their egos aside, put the patient first, and learn from him!


Laurie M-S.
Costa Mesa, CA

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