Skull Base Tumors


Recognized as a world leader in skull base surgery and training, the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute offers patients with skull base tumors optimal care that minimizes the risk of neurological deficits. Our physicians were the first to propose selective use of cytoreductive surgery: the minimization of tumor removal, when possible, and maximization of quality of life.

What are skull base tumors?

Skull base lesions include pituitary tumors, tumors of the sino-nasal tract, tumors of the clivus (including chondromas and chordomas), lesions of the petrous apex, neuromas, meningiomas, cholesteatomas, keratomas and paragangliomas (glomus tumors).

Who treats skull base tumors?

The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute’s comprehensive skull base surgery team includes neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists (ENT/head and neck surgeons), neuro-otologists, oculoplastic surgeons, neurophysiologists (for intraoperative monitoring), neuroradiologists and radiation oncologists. The team offers multi-therapy approaches, from medical and surgical management (using computer-assisted, image-guided neurosurgery) to endovascular therapies, radiosurgery and reconstructive techniques.

During a seamless intake process, patients undergo a day of diagnostic tests, meet with an otolarynogolist and receive education and information about their treatment plan. The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute’s skull base team uses contemporary neuroradiological methods such as MRI, MRA, interventional neuroradiology and high-resolution CT scanning to optimize the preoperative assessment of skull base lesions.

The UC Brain Tumor Center is pleased to connect new patients who are seeking information and reassurance to past patients who had similar diagnoses.

What new treatments are available?

Once inoperable, tumors of the skull base — the borderline region separating the base of the brain and the extracranial structure — are accessible today. However, tumor removal still proves challenging because of the complexity of skull base anatomy and the risk to vital neurological and vascular structures.

Skull base surgery has been enhanced by important advances in minimally invasive surgery. These procedures are performed through small openings in the nose, eyebrow or skull and cause minimal disruption to the brain. Surgeons reach through small corridors in the brain with a special set of miniature tools attached to the end of long holders. Patients who would have been hospitalized for a week just a decade ago are often able to go home the next day.

Minimally invasive surgical techniques allow neurosurgeons to remove even large tumors through openings of 1.5 to 3 centimeters.

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