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.
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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
- Minimally-invasive endonasal endoscopic surgery
- Minimally-invasive neuroendoscopic surgery
- Minimally-invasive retro-sigmoid craniotomy (keyhole brain surgery)
- Minimally-invasive supra-orbital "eyebrow" craniotomy
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.
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.