Cranial/Skull Base Tumors

The idea of having something wrong near your brain can be very scary, which is why our program allows you to be seen by a multidisciplinary team of specialists from Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Radiation Oncology, and Medical Oncology and get an answer regarding your diagnosis and treatment the same day.

Our Experts Treat Tumors With Innovative Therapies Including Pioneering Minimally Invasive Surgeries For a Fast Recovery

At The University of Michigan, our Cranial Base Program diagnoses and treats benign and malignant tumors involving the cranial base region, cerebrospinal fluid leaks and encephaloceles, and traumatic injuries to the face and skull. 

Some of the conditions treated include:

  • Nasal/sinus tumors and cancers, including carcinoma, melanoma, esthesioneuroblastoma and sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma (SNUC)
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leaks
  • Meningiomas
  • Acoustic Neuromas
  • Paraganglioma

Our techniques and approaches include:

  • Endoscopic skull base surgery: This minimally invasive approach involves removing tumors through the nose without facial incisions. Computer image guidance (like a GPS) is often used.
  • Open: Open approaches involve incisions, opening the skull, removing the tumor and reconstructive techniques to preserve cosmetic and functional outcomes.
  • Endoscopic-assisted open

For patients with an acoustic neuroma – a tumor of the nerve that connects the ear and brain – hearing loss can occur as a result of surgical tumor removal. Our cranial base team emphasizes hearing preservation whenever indicated.

All of our approaches minimize damage to important nerves and blood vessels, maximizing cosmetic outcomes and promoting rapid recovery.

We also use radiation therapy and chemotherapy with or without surgery, to effectively treat cranial base tumors. All approaches are designed to restore the patient to his or her preoperative function, lifestyle and appearance. More than 1,400 adult and pediatric skull base patients have been treated since our program began in 1994.

Complex Cases Require the Expertise of a Multidisciplinary Team

Cranial base specialists in otolaryngology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, radiation oncology, and medical oncology work together to ensure comprehensive, appropriate treatment and the highest quality outcomes possible. Your treatment plan may also include visits with physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists and specialized physician assistants and nurses.