Skull Base Institute

Phillip M., St. Louis, MO

My wife recently underwent a 5-hour surgery by Dr. Shahinian to remove a 4cm cerebellopontine angle meningioma. The only alternative to this approach (offered by other doctors) was an 18-hour surgery that required two surgeons and retraction of the brain. The 18-hour version had a significant potential to cause brain damage, significantly higher chances of post-operative infection, guaranteed loss of hearing in one ear, almost certain double vision, and months of recuperation.

Before selecting Dr. Shahinian, I submitted my wife’s MRIs to a number of prestigious hospitals. I would guess that the number of doctors on the various tumor-evaluation boards reviewing her case was between 10 and 15. Not one doctor mentioned the minimally invasive alternative. I even sent her information to the surgery chief of the teaching hospital at my college alma mater to ask if the minimally invasive approach had any validity. His response came back to just suck it up and do the 18-hour surgery.

Think of the risk a patient has to be willing to take to reject the advice of a dozen or so surgeons. However, in the end, my wife didn’t have to be a brain surgeon herself to make the decision about the safer and more patient-friendly route to go. Even though none of the other surgeons we talked to seem to know anything about the minimally invasive approach, it was clear that Dr. Shahinian had been doing this long enough and had experienced enough success that there was no comparison. Faced with the same information that we had, no reasonable person would have made any different choice.


Phillip M.
St. Louis, MO

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