Skull base tumors

We know that news of a skull base tumor is overwhelming. Whether you need a consultation, second opinion or are ready for a treatment plan, put our experience to work for you. We know exactly how these complex tumors like to behave, and we know how to best fight it. Our team includes a dedicated skull-base neurosurgeon, which gives you complete confidence with the power of experienced precision working for you. Whenever possible, we use minimally invasive procedures for faster recovery and minimal scarring. 

Skull base tumors are located close to the brain stem, where many blood vessels and nerves pass through. Your tumor may impact vision, hearing or basic bodily functions. Though extremely rare, even noncancerous tumors can pose a threat to surrounding tissue. There are various types of skull base tumors. We’ll determine the best course of treatment specific to you.

Treatment options

Treating a skull base tumor is similar to other brain tumors, even though it's location is distinctly different than those within the brain. The best plan of attack depends on the size, location and type. Skull base tumors can be difficult to treat because they are deep in the brain. Luckily, Spectrum Health has talented doctors who perform breakthrough, minimally-invasive techniques and new surgeries. 

Your care team may take a combination approach, using more than one form of treatment. Some tumors only require watching, because they’re noncancerous. For others, surgery alone will do the trick. Read more about treatment options below, and let's work together to make you well.

Active monitoring

This is recommended when your tumor is noncancerous and symptoms are minimal. Monitoring also occurs if your tumor can't be completely removed with surgery. Tell your doctor about any new symptoms immediately.

Nasal access surgery

In this minimally invasive procedure, also called an endoscopic endonasal surgery, your tumor is removed through the nose. Minimally invasive procedures have benefits to open surgery, such as minimal scarring, fewer complications and surgical side effects, and a faster recovery.


Even with aggressive treatment, tumors can grow back. Chemotherapy can help control and monitor tumors that have grown back when radiation isn't enough.

Open surgery

Open surgery exposes the bone of the skull base through incisions made in the nose or throat. Then, surgeons remove the bone to expose the tumor and remove it. After removing it, the surrounding tissue is sealed off to start the healing process.

Endoport surgery

This minimally-invasive procedure removes the tumor through a small hole in the skull using a straw-like tube.

Radiation therapy

Radiation may be suggested in a couple scenarios. First, radiation can reduce the size of the tumor when surgery can't completely remove it. Second, even if the tumor is completely removed, radiation can reduce the risk of a tumor returning.

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