Skull Base Institute

Stephen Richards, Encinitas, CA

I was blessed to have been a patient of Dr. Shahinian.

I’ll never forget receiving a call from my wife while on a business trip. She explained that I needed to return immediately to San Diego and prepare for an emergency. CAT scan results showed that a ping-pong-ball-sized tumor on my pituitary gland had been applying significant pressure on my optic nerves. The tumor needed to be removed as quickly as possible to avoid permanent damage to the optic nerves and potential blindness.

I had been referred to an endocrinologist in an attempt to find the cause of the nagging physical ailments I’d been having, such as headaches, hearing loss in my left ear, extreme eye irritation, and swelling in my extremities. My endocrinologist speculated that I might have a pituitary tumor and ordered the CAT scan.

The doctor suggested that I research surgeons using the Internet. His most recent patient who needed pituitary tumor surgery was very unhappy with the results. That surgeon had used the traditional procedure (transsphenoidal hypophysectomy) leading to a very lengthy and painful recovery. My wife then discovered information about the less invasive endoscopic procedure developed by Dr. Shahinian at the Skull Base Institute. Our initial phone call quickly led to Dr. Shahinian re-arranging his schedule to accommodate an immediate face-to-face meeting (due to the urgency of my condition).

During that meeting, my wife and I were extremely impressed with Dr. Shahinian’s confident and caring presence. He answered all of our questions and calmly provided specifics about every facet of the procedure and the post-operative recovery process. His staff was the most attentive and genuinely caring medical team I have ever encountered.

The procedure went exactly as described. The recovery process was also as expected. Of course, there was some discomfort and time needed for healing, but whenever I had questions or concerns, Dr. Shahinian and his staff were very accessible and supportive. Incredibly, I was back to work within four weeks.

It has now been several years since Dr. Shahinian removed my tumor. There has been no evidence of any tumor regeneration, and my overall health is great. Once-yearly CT scans confirm that the tumor has not come back.

Despite the fact that we would have paid whatever it cost to have the procedure done by Dr. Shahinian, my wife and I were relieved to know that he was a contract provider with our insurance company. It only increased our confidence in his skills to know that our insurance company validated his state-of-art procedures through its approval.

I still think of Dr. Shahinian often when I see my son surfing, watch my daughter at her first job, play golf with my friends, or have a romantic dinner with my wife. I will forever be grateful for his calming presence and extraordinary surgical skills in the most stressful moment of my life.


Stephen R.
Encinitas, CA

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