Changes Experienced in Quality of Life for Skull Base Surgical Patients: A Qualitative Case Study Academic Article uri icon

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  • Objective Skull base tumors are associated with quality of life (QOL) changes. A qualitative case-study approach may help better understand patients' experiences. Methods A total of 34 skull base surgery patients were selected into focus groups using a criterion-based maximum variation sampling strategy from a sampling frame of 138 patients. Eight groups were organized based on a factorial design of surgical approach (endoscopic/pen) and tumor location (anterior/central). Data were analyzed using a conceptual framework. Qualitative analysis was performed on focus group transcripts to identify major themes and determine if surgical approach or tumor location had differential effects on QOL. Concepts were quantitatively tallied from written workbooks. Results The 34 participants (19 men, 15 women; mean age: 48 years, standard deviation: 14 years) had mixed reactions to their diagnosis ranging from relief to fear. Participants reported physical and nonphysical changes in QOL with some variation in physical complaints by tumor location. Several major themes emerged from the analysis. Skull base tumors are associated with fear and frustration, loss of physical senses and self-identity, social isolation, and coping mechanisms. Conclusions Skull base surgery may impact patients' lives. Qualitative study of patient experiences can provide rich information to better understand this disease.


  • Vescan, Allan
  • Witterick, Ian
  • Gullane, Patrick
  • Gentili, Fred
  • Ringash, Jolie
  • Thoma, Achilleas
  • Lohfeld, Lynne
  • de Almeida, John

publication date

  • March 2015