A 60-year-old pre-school manager from Stokes Valley has made
medical history after becoming the first woman to have a bone
tumour deep within her skull removed successfully at Hutt
The surgery carried major risks but if the tumour hadn't been
removed from Theresa Signal, she could have suffered a deadly
The bone tumour inside Signal was the size of a squash ball and
was growing deep inside her head, extending from her jawbone to her
The tumour tangled itself up in the main artery supplying blood
to the brain and a CT scan showed it had gone into the skull base
with the carotid artery wrapping itself right around it.
The surgery was risky to perform as the tumour was not only
deeply embedded and tricky to access but one slip by the surgeons
could have caused a major stroke.
Plastic and maxillofacial surgeon Professor Swee Tan performed
the four hour surgery on Signal. He was helped by neurosurgeon Ales
Aliaskevich, whose job was to burr the tumour out, taking care not
to hit the vital artery.
Burring is a medical term, also known as trepanning, whereby a
hole is drilled or scraped into the human skull, exposing the
After the surgery, Signal was wheeled into recovery. All going
well, Signal should be back at work in three months.