The skull is composed of bones and cartilage that form the face and the cranium, which surrounds the brain. The skull base is a crowded and complicated area with openings that the spinal cord, many blood vessels, and nerves all pass through.
There are several different types of skull base tumors:
- Cysts that develop from birth
- Growths caused by infections
- Pituitary tumors. The pituitary gland sits behind the nose and eyes
- Meningiomas. These tumors are often benign and grow from the meninges, the tissue that covers the brain and lies between the brain and skull
- Chordomas. This is a slow-growing bone tumor most often found at the base of the skull
- Craniopharyngiomas, growths that occur near the pituitary gland
You may have many possible symptoms from a growth or abnormality in the skull base area. Symptoms will depend on the size, type, and location of the growth or abnormality, and may include:
- Facial pain
- Visual problems
- Weakness of the face
- Hearing loss or ringing in the ears
- Nasal congestion or frequent sinus infections
Treatment for skull base tumors varies according to the type and location of the tumor and may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, gamma knife, endovascular surgery, and open surgery.