8 April 2018 | A Loma Linda University Health neurosurgeon traveled with a team of physicians to Manila for a week-long effort aimed at enhancing the expertise of healthcare professionals performing endoscopic skull base surgery in the Philippines.

Kenneth De Los Reyes, MD, MSc, assistant professor at Loma Linda University and co-director of skull base surgery at Loma Linda University Medical Center, joined the team that provided consulting in their expertise for staff and residents at University of Santo Tomas and Jose Reyes Hospital in Manila.

While in the Philippine capital in March, the team established a program in which local medical residents, trainees and staff could practice endoscopic skull base surgery. Over the course of the week, De Los Reyes and his colleagues performed two of the highly specialized surgeries. Working with their Manila-based partners, the team removed the pituitary tumors causing vision loss for both patients. De Los Reyes said that 1 in 6 people experience this kind of tumor. “These tumors are very treatable and surgery can be curative,” said the LLU physician. “To give someone back their sight is truly a miracle and to change their life with a procedure like this, is the best part of my job.”​

According to a news story on the Loma Linda University Health website, two days of the trip were dedicated to a symposium at the University of Santo Tomas during which those in attendance were shown a live cadaver dissection. De Los Reyes led the symposium which dealt mainly with the anatomy of the anterior (frontal) skull base and the best techniques to use when treating it.

“Many of the residents felt it was beneficial to participate in the symposium and plan to use what we shared in their own practice,” said De Los Reyes. “It can be challenging at first to adapt to a new philosophy of care, but we hope they can continue to expand with a multi-disciplinary approach.”

De Los Reyes said that patients are frequently left untreated or undertreated because of lack of resources for neurosurgery in the region. The Philippines currently has one neurosurgeon for every 1 million of the population.

The physician plans to come back to Manila next year bringing other physicians from Loma Linda University Health and Mount Sinai Medical Center.

“We only scratched the surface,” De Los Reyes said. “There’s still so much more to teach, learn and discuss with our partners overseas, especially when it comes to training both ENT and neurosurgery trainees on a team approach to skull base surgery.”

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