Skull Base Tumor

What are skull base tumors?

Tumor can exist among a variety of locations along the central and peripheral nervous system. The base of the skull lies behind the eyes, nose and sinuses. Skull base tumors are those that exist along the base of the skull and the bottom of the brain often associated with critical nerves and blood vessels.  


What symptoms do they cause?

These tumors can cause a variety of symptoms based on their location, their association with the local neurologic structures and any associated edema or swelling. Some tumors are found incidentally and are asymptomatic while others cause a variety of neurologic signs and symptoms. Symptoms can include headache, blurry vision, loss of vision, change in sense of  smell, difficulty with eye movement, facial numbness, tingling, pain, weakness, decrease or loss of hearing, difficulty swallowing, pituitary dysfunction and seizures.


Where do they come from?

The tumors can have a variety of origins. Some are benign while others can be more aggressive or malignant. Typical tumors include pituitary tumors, meningiomas, sino-nasal cancers, acoustic neuromas, schwannomas and metastasis.


What treatment options are there?

Treatment depends on symptoms, locations and suspected pathology. Patients may have to options of observation, surgery or radiosurgery. Surgical approaches may include traditional cranial approaches versus newer endoscopic transnasal approaches with sometimes no incisions what so ever.

Craniotomy:

Cranial approaches to tumors of the skull base involved skilled removal of the bone in order to provide access to the tumor with minimal to no brain retraction or irritation.  

Endoscopic Surgery:

Endoscopic surgery is often performed as team surgery where working through the nasal corridors and sinuses the tumor is accessed directly at the base of the skull avoiding brain retraction and done without incisions in the scalp or face.  

Stereotactic Radiosurgery:

Stereotactic Radiosurgery provides focused radiation to the tumor and minimizes radiation exposure to the local neurovascular structures. It can be very effective in the local control of these tumors and can be combined with surgical treatment when necessary or be performed as a primary treatment.

A number or factors will help determine the optimal treatment paradigm. Our team of neurosurgeons can aid in navigating among the options and provide a treatment plan tailored to you.

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