Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg Surgeons Perform Unique Excision of a Nasal Tumour

Posted on 5 February 2018

For two years, Peter Edmonds, a 62-year-old owner of a farm maintenance business outside of Pietermaritzburg, suffered from a blocked nose. He endured constant headaches and often felt listless after not getting enough sleep at night.

After being repeatedly treated with antibiotics for nasal infections, he was eventually referred to an ENT specialist who performed a CT scan and detected a mass in his nasal cavity. A biopsy proved it was a slow-growing malignant tumour and needed to be removed. That is when Dr Firoze Essa, an otorhinolaryngologist (ENT) and Dr Stewart Chite, a neurosurgeon, who both operate out of practices at Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg stepped in.

A first for Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg

In a first for Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg, the two specialists performed intricate surgery in December last year to remove the tumour that was uniquely positioned between Peter’s upper nasal cavity and anterior skull base.

As Dr Chite says, ‘the location of the tumor and its proximity to the cranial cavity means that the esthesioneuroblastoma can be highly invasive and challenging to treat.’ A bilateral approach was taken, in which Dr Essa operated via the nasal cavity, with neuro-navigation assistance, while Dr Chite approached the tumour from the top of the skull. Studies suggested that this approach would provide better results in excising the 5cm x 3cm tumour endoscopically.

As Dr Essa adds, Peter’s tumour originated from his olfactory nerve. ‘This nerve is responsible for smell, and was required to be removed to clear the tumour, hence Peter’s loss of smell.’

‘I’ve had a very trouble-free recovery,’ a thankful Peter says. ‘I am very grateful for the expert care I received.’

Dr Essa explains, ‘We aim to develop into a centre of excellence for oncological surgery pertaining to the head and neck, providing the patients in our community with the assurance that we can deliver on the expertise they have come to expect.’

Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg Hospital General Manager, Tabitha Lolliot, is delighted with the innovative work being done in the hospital, ‘We have the utmost faith in the doctors’ expertise and for our community to have access to such intricate surgeries at our hospital is something we are proud of.’

Published in Innovation