Skull Base Program

At Michigan Medicine, our team has decades of combined experience treating tumors and other conditions found in the bottom, or base, of the skull. These tumors can affect sensitive nerves and are often challenging and sometimes dangerous to reach, since they sit under the brain and may be entangled with important nerves and blood vessels.

While some skull base tumors don’t cause symptoms, others may affect important functions such as hearing, vision and balance. We can safeguard your health with a level of expertise you can’t find elsewhere in Michigan.

Michigan Medicine Skull Base Tumor Care

When you partner with us for treatment of skull base tumors and conditions, you’ll find:

  • Experience and excellence: Our otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) program is consistently ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report. We also have one of the country’s oldest skull base programs. Our doctors know when to operate and when to observe benign tumors, potentially sparing you from unnecessary surgical risks.
  • Leading treatment: We are a national leader in skull base tumor surgery, particularly in complex cranial surgeries and rare types of skull base tumors. We offer a range of treatments and explore each possibility with you. Find out more about skull base treatments.
  • Comprehensive care: In addition to effective treatments, our team provides thorough follow-up care and long-term monitoring. Support includes audiology and balance assessments and physical therapy to address any after effects and get you back to daily living.
  • Personal touch: Our focus is the people we care for every day. Nurses and patient care coordinators schedule and streamline your appointments and can help with common questions. Our doctors allot the necessary time required to explain findings and recommendations so you feel comfortable and part of the decision making process.

Team Approach to Care

Conditions in the skull base are often complex and require a team of specialists to deliver the best care. Our program brings together a group of doctors and other medical providers who specialize in various aspects to provide the care you need.

This team works together on your behalf and includes:

  • Otolaryngologists
  • Neurotologists
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Imaging specialists
  • Audiologists
  • Speech, balance, and physical therapists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Plastic surgeons

Other Skull Base Conditions

In addition to tumors, our team treats other skull base conditions, including:

  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak: Occasionally the fluid surrounding the brain and spine can leak from the nose or ear due to a defect in the protective membrane surrounding these structures. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks may cause hearing loss, headaches, nasal drainage, and vision changes. Life-threatening infections may occur if not treated, so surgery is usually needed to stop the leak. 
  • Encephalocele: Some babies are born with a rare condition that causes parts of the brain and its protective membranes to poke through the skull.  These may also develop later in life, and are often associated with CSF leakage. We perform surgery to repair the defect in the skull and prevent further problems.
  • Face and skull injuries: Significant injuries to the face or head may fracture the skull. Treatment depends on the type of fracture and how much the brain is injured. We can repair fractures, repair CSF leaks, and restore your appearance.

Make an Appointment

To schedule an evaluation for a tumor or other skull base condition, please call us at 734-936-8051.