Eileen Koslowsky

During the past decade, Eileen Koslowsky, 61, noticed gradual changes in her body. Her lips, nose, hands, chin, tongue and feet were getting larger.

At first, the Flushing resident thought nothing of it. After all, she wasn’t in pain and figured it was part of getting older.

But, during a routine doctor visit last spring, a new internist noticed that Ms. Koslowsky’s tongue was larger than normal. Subsequent blood work revealed abnormal levels of growth hormones. Consultation with an endocrinologist and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study revealed that a benign growth within Ms. Koslowsky’s pituitary gland caused a hormonal disorder (acromegaly) that was behind the changes. The disorder produces excess growth hormone and causes changes in the hands, feet and face. Acromegaly can also lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

Last summer, Ms. Koslowsky met with Mark Eisenberg, MD, neurosurgeon and director of the Skull Base Center at North Shore-LIJ’s Cushing Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Eisenberg and B. Todd Schaeffer, MD, endoscopic sinus surgeon, collaborate to remove brain tumors endoscopically through the nose at LIJ Medical Center. Their time-tested approach would help Ms. Koslowsky.

As an added advantage, Drs. Eisenberg and Schaeffer employed a new technology, the Visionsense VSII Three-Dimensional (3D) Endoscopic System, to pinpoint the location of her tumor and provide enhanced views of it. While traditional endoscopes provide two-dimensional images on operating room (OR) monitors, the Visionsense system employs a 3D camera sensor at the end of the endoscope to display images in three dimensions on an OR monitor. Wearing customized 3D glasses, Drs. Eisenberg and Schaeffer got true depth perception of the tumor and nearby critical tissue – a real benefit for Ms. Koslowsky.

Ms. Koslowsky had her surgery at LIJ. Within three weeks, she noticed that her hands, chin and nose were much smaller. Ms. Koslowsky is thankful that her medical mystery was solved, and she now enjoys life as a proud grandmother.

 “I am so grateful that the surgery saved me. If the condition wasn’t detected, it could have been fatal,” Ms. Koslowsky said. “Dr. Eisenberg and Dr. Schaeffer are wonderful doctors, and I am so glad to have found them. I can enjoy life with my family and grandchildren. Life is good.”

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of North Shore-LIJ Health System's Vitality magazine. Read the latest issue of Vitality or subscribe to the print edition.