Cancerous and non-cancerous tumors can grow in the skull base — the underside of the brain, close to the ear and the upper part of the spinal column. These tumors can be challenging to diagnose and, because of their location, surgical removal requires expert technical skill.
At the Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, our head and neck surgeons are nationally recognized as leaders in helping patients who need complicated or complex treatment, including cranial base surgery. By tailoring treatment to each person’s specific condition, medical history and lifestyle goals, we achieve outstanding results. Our patients value our compassionate and personalized approach to treatment and long-term care.
We know that skull base tumors and the cranial base surgery process can significantly impact your life. Our top priority is helping you achieve the highest quality of life and optimum health. We help patients from around the world by diagnosing the disorder accurately, customizing treatment for the specific condition and lifestyle goals, ensuring the surgical process is as comfortable as possible and helping each patient live fully after surgery.
Multidisciplinary care from leading experts: Skull base surgery surgery can be highly complex, so it is important to receive care from highly trained experts who can collaborate with other specialists as needed.
The cranial base surgery experts at Weill Cornell Medicine include head and neck surgeons, neurosurgeons, neurotologists, neurophysiologists, neuroradiologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons and maxillofacial surgeons. As a patient at Weill Cornell Medicine, you also have access to our wide range of specialists for your recovery and long-term care, which may include audiologists, neurologists, facial nerve physical therapists, oncologists, facial plastic surgeons or speech therapists.
Weill Cornell Medicine partners with NewYork-Presbyterian, one of the top hospital systems in New York City and the U.S.
Comprehensive care founded on cutting-edge research: We understand that skull base disorders and tumors can negatively impact your physical and emotional lives. As our patient, we work closely with you to make the entire treatment process as comfortable and successful as possible.
Our skull base surgeons are nationally recognized leaders in their fields. All patient care is based on the latest research and knowledge about skull base surgical treatments — including research being conducted by our own physicians.
Our team uses the most advanced technology available to diagnose and understand each patient’s specific condition. We specialize in diagnosing and treating all skull base disorders, including:
● Benign (non-cancerous) tumors, including acoustic neuroma and pituitary tumors
● Cancerous tumors, including carcinomas and sarcomas
● Cranial base disorders, including Cushing’s disease
Acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous (benign) tumor that grows from the main (vestibular) nerve leading from the inner ear to the brain. Acoustic neuroma — also called “vestibular schwannoma” — can take many years to grow and cause any problems.
Acoustic neuroma can put pressure on your vestibular nerve and cause many symptoms, including hearing loss, ringing in your ear, facial numbness, facial weakness, unsteadiness or dizziness. If the tumor becomes very large, it can put pressure on your brain and interfere with brain function.
The choice of which treatment is most appropriate for you is based on a number of factors, including tumor size, tumor location, tumor characteristics, symptoms, prior surgery, prior radiation, your health and long-term lifestyle goals.
The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life for the long term. Our surgeons work closely with each patient to determine the best surgical options, understand your lifestyle goals, answer your questions and empower you with information about your condition and treatment. Together, you and your surgeon will decide on the best approach.
Watchful waiting: Your surgeon will observe your tumor or condition closely with magnetic resonance imaging MRI scans. This is often the most appropriate treatment for several years.
Surgical treatment: Depending on the status of your acoustic neuroma, tumor or condition, your doctor may determine that you will benefit from surgery. The Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery includes highly trained specialists in all types of skull base surgery:
● Radiosurgery uses beams of radiation to directly target the tumor, protecting all surrounding organs and tissue
● Microscopic, laser and ultrasonic surgery are minimally invasive techniques to remove tumors
● Minimally invasive endoscopic surgery is performed by both a neurosurgeon and head and neck surgeon to remove tumors through the nasal cavity, using small incisions
Whether you visit us virtually through a Video Visit or you see us in-person, we will never stop providing the highest standards of care with compassion. You can rest assured that we have taken every step to keep our facilities and locations safe. Learn more about our safety measures and the changes we’ve made to your patient experience.