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Treatment for Skull Base Tumors

Treatment for skull base tumors and conditions may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and/or observation. The treatment for a skull base tumor or condition depends on many factors, including:

  • The location of the tumor or condition
  • For tumors, the extent of the tumor and whether it is benign or malignant
  • The patient's general health and preferences regarding potential treatment options.

If the patient's tumor is benign and in a part of the skull base where neurosurgeons can safely remove it completely, surgery may be the only treatment needed. Although many tumors are amenable to minimally invasive endonasal endoscopic surgery, there are in fact a variety of approaches to surgery for skull base tumors.

Malignant Brain Tumor Surgery: What You Need to Know

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Chetan Bettegowda, M.D., Ph.D. provides what you need to know about surgical options for malignant brain tumors, including what surgical options are available, when they are considered, how to choose a brain tumor center, and the anticipated course of treatment, recovery time and outcomes.

Malignant Brain Tumor Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Chetan Bettegowda, M.D., Ph.D. discusses when clinical trials are recommended for a patient with a malignant brain tumor diagnosis, understanding the risks involved and making the decision to participate in a clinical trial. He also discusses the latest research for the treatment of brain tumors.

Chemotherapy and Primary Brain Tumors: What You Need to Know

Johns Hopkins oncologist Matthias Holdhoff, M.D., Ph.D. offers a candid conversation on chemotherapy as a treatment option for malignant brain tumors. Learn more about chemotherapy, what you can expect during treatment and the side effects of chemotherapy.

Radiation Oncology for Primary Brain Tumors: What You Need to Know

Johns Hopkins radiation oncologist Lawrence R. Kleinberg, M.D. explains when and how radiation therapy is used to treat primary brain tumors. Learn about the anticipated course of treatment, side effects and how they can be managed.


A team of neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists at Johns Hopkins works together to determine and perform the most appropriate procedure for each patient. About 90% of patients with skull base tumors who are treated surgically undergo endonasal endoscopic surgery. However, there are a variety of surgical approaches to treat skull base brain tumors.

Types of surgery for skull base tumors


After surgery

After surgery, a team of doctors, physician assistants, and nurses who are specially trained in neurology and critical care, will help the patient recover. Before the patient leaves The Johns Hopkins Hospital, they will provide detailed instructions about what to do at home.

Learn more about care and recovery after surgery.


Radiation Therapy

Doctors use radiation therapy after surgery for skull base tumors that cannot be completely removed safely and to treat the most malignant tumors. Radiation therapy is also used to treat skull base tumors located in areas of the brain where surgical removal is unsafe.

Two types of radiation therapy are used to treat skull base tumors

  • External beam radiation therapy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery


For a small skull base tumor that does not cause any significant symptoms, observation may be an option. If the skull base tumor does not grow and is not causing any detriment to functionality, the patient may not need treatment.

To make an appointment or request a consultation, contact the Johns Hopkins Skull Base Tumor Center at 410-614-0585.

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