Skull Base Tumor

Skull base tumors grow underneath the brain and along the bones that make up the floor of the skull. Because the deepest structures of the brain are located there, including a fine network of nerves that crisscross the area, even benign skull base tumors can affect important brain and nervous system functions.

Overview

Symptoms

Tumors in the skull base don’t usually cause symptoms until they get big enough to interfere with basic functions of the nervous system. Skull base tumor symptoms may include:

  • Hearing loss or difficulty hearing
  • Double vision or difficulty seeing
  • Changes in balance
  • Facial pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Weakness in the tongue

Diagnosis

First, your doctor will ask about your symptoms. He or she will likely order tests, including:

  • MRI and CT scans to show if a tumor is present
  • Angiogram to see if blood vessels to the brain are affected by the tumor

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Treatment Options

Dr. Amin Kassam, vice president for Neurosciences at Aurora Health Care, explains the Expanded Endonasal Approach, a minimally invasive surgery technique.

Skull base tumor treatment options may include:

  • The Expanded Endonasal Approach (EEA), a minimally invasive procedure in which the tumor is removed through the nasal passages, resulting in no incisions, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery than conventional surgery.
  • Neuroendoscopic surgery, in which a surgeon makes a tiny hole in the skull, mouth or nose and inserts a thin tube (endoscope) to view and remove the tumor.
  • Craniotomy, in which a piece of the skull is removed in order to access and remove the tumor.
  • CyberKnife® stereotactic radiosurgery, in which a non-invasive, robotic system delivers high doses of radiation to tumors with pinpoint accuracy.

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