Your brain sits on your skull base, the crowded area that your spinal cord – as well as many blood vessels and nerves – pass through. If there are benign or malignance growths or abnormalities in this underside part of your brain or the top few vertebrae of your spinal column, you may need surgery.
Because this area is hard to reach and see, our Skull Base Surgery program brings together an integrated, collaborative team of experts from neurosurgery, otolaryngology – head and neck surgery, neuro-ophthalmology, and radiation oncology to develop individualized treatment plans. We specialize in treating acoustic neuromas, pituitary tumors, craniopharyngiomas, skull base meningiomas, metastases, trigeminal neuralgia, hemifacial spasm, encephaloceles, tegmen defects and aneurysms. And we employ the most advanced open and minimally invasive techniques – including microsurgery, radiosurgery and cranial base approaches – to provide the most effective, safe care … and the best outcomes.
Diagnosing Skull Base Conditions
Conditions affecting the floor of the cranial cavity can be difficult to diagnosis given the proximity of so many other anatomical areas, including the face, neck, ears, nose and throat. Most patients come to us presenting some or all of the following symptoms:
- Sinus congestion
- Vision changes
- Neck pain
- Hearing loss
- Difficulty swallowing and/or talking
- Endocrine dysfunction
Depending on the area affected, these symptoms may be linked to nerve compression, fluid buildup or interrupted blood flow due to the presence of a tumor or other cranial condition. The type of symptom often tells us which area, or compartment, of the brain is affected.
Final diagnosis involves analysis of patient history, and data gathered using MRIs, CTs, PET scans, blood work, MRA, angiography and/or endoscopy of the sinuses as well as evaluations designed to gauge balance, vision and hearing.
Skull base surgery can be done in two main ways. Although the preferred method is endoscopic, open surgery is also an option, depending on the type of growth that needs to be removed and its location: