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Skull base tumors

What is a skull base tumor?

Skull base tumors are tumors that grow inside or directly below the skull. The skull base consists of several bones that are fused together and separate the brain from the other structures in the head, including the ears, eyes, and nasal cavity. Most skull base tumors are benign, but some can be cancerous. They are all typically slow growing. Skull base tumors can include chordomas, meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, pituitary tumors, and more than two dozen other types of tumors. Patients will receive comprehensive, personalized care for their specific type of skull base tumor at UTHealth Neurosciences.

Causes of skull base tumors

Skull base tumors are rare and typically slow-growing. There is no known cause for their development. Risk factors may include exposure to certain radiation or chemicals or possible genetic conditions.

Signs of skull base tumors

Many important nerves and blood vessels run through the skull base. While the tumor may not initially cause symptoms, it could eventually put pressure on the brain or a nerve. Symptoms can include headaches, pain, congestion, nausea, dizziness, an altered sense of small, hearing loss, and vision problems. It is also possible for a skull base tumor to affect hormone production in the pituitary gland.

Diagnosis

Because they often don’t present symptoms, skull base tumors might be discovered during MRIs for other health conditions. A physical exam will be performed, and your doctor will look for symptoms, such as congestion and nose bleeds. Your vision, hearing, and reflexes may also be checked. A blood test may be performed to measure hormone levels. Other imaging, including a CT scan, PET scan, or bone scan, may be performed.

Treatment

The tumor type will determine the treatment plan, but surgery is often a critical component. Our neurosurgeons are experts at implementing minimally invasive procedures and microsurgical techniques. Tumors can be approached, in some cases, through the nose, eyebrows, or ears. Recovery from these techniques tends to be much quicker. Advanced radiation therapy, including proton therapy or stereotactic radiotherapy, may be an option for patients with specific types of tumors.

What You Can Expect at UTHealth Neurosciences

Our multidisciplinary team of physicians and neurosurgeons uses advanced technology to accurately diagnose and treat skull base tumors. They share expertise and insights, leading to better treatment decision-making and outcomes, as well as lower costs and time savings. Throughout surgery and the treatment process, we will work closely with the doctor who referred you to ensure a smooth transition back to your regular care. While you are with us, you will receive expert care, excellent communication, and genuine compassion.


Contact Us

At UTHealth Neurosciences, we offer patients access to specialized neurological care at clinics across the greater Houston area. To ask us a question, schedule an appointment, or learn more about us, please call (713) 486-8000, or click below to send us a message. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.


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