Pediatric Skull Base Program

Pediatric endoscopic endonasal surgery was pioneered in adult hospitals, where surgery in the anterior skull base area, such as the sella and the pituitary area, are accessed through the nostrils. Essentially, surgeons perform brain surgery through the nose, so there is no external scar, while minimizing manipulation to the brain structures.

In children, this is more challenging for many reasons, including small nasal passages, immature skull development, and small, delicate tissue.

Endoscopic endonasal surgery is a minimally invasive technique that uses an endoscope introduced through the nose to provide access to the midline cranial base, allowing for surgical intervention for a variety of lesions and pathologies.


Surgical intervention is needed when a condition such as a large chordoma is present. In this case, the chordoma, a rare malignant primary bone tumor, has invaded the skull base and cervical spine, creating brain stem compression (image marked "L"/left). Post-surgery (other image/right) the tumor is gone and the compression is released. 

The Lurie Children's Difference

Initially launched at Lurie Children's in 2010 by Jeffrey Rastatter, MD, pediatric otolaryngologist, and Tord Alden, MD​, pediatric neurosurgeon, the Endonasal Skull Base Surgery Program has grown into a fully comprehensive, multidisciplinary program which also includes radiology, oncology, endocrinology, pathology and social work. We focus only on children, and as pediatric specialists, we are used to dealing with the smaller surgical fields and age specific nuances of the pediatric skull base. As a children’s hospital, we provide unique services and resources, too, which help reduce anxiety and allows children to feel safe and secure.

Lurie Children’s is the only pediatric hospital in the Chicagoland area with a dedicated multidisciplinary program focused solely on evaluation and treatment of pediatric patients with such skull base lesions. In fact, this is one of a very few dedicated pediatric programs throughout the United States and beyond.

Conditions We Treat

Some of the conditions we treat with endoscopic endonasal surgery include:

  • Pituitary tumors
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma (JNA)
  • Chordomas
  • Fibrous dysplasia
  • Other benign or malignant cranial base lesions

Our Specialists

Tord D. Alden, MD

Attending Physician, Neurosurgery; Chief Medical Informatics Officer; Member, Lurie Children's Surgical Foundation

  • Seeing Patients at 3 Locations

Jeff C. Rastatter, MD

Attending Physician, Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery; Member, Lurie Children's Surgical Foundation

  • Seeing Patients at 3 Locations

Appointments

Please call 312.227.4220 for an appointment, consultation, or second-opinion option.

Ask about our telemedicine, in-person, and same-day access options.

Related Specialties

Our Specialists