Skull Base Tumors
Certain tumors and conditions tend to occur at the base of the brain in a region known as the skull base.
This area is formed by a highly complex bony structure, through which various blood vessels and cranial nerves run. Masses in this area tend to involve the brainstem structures as well as the cranial nerves and blood vessels.
Depending on the type and location of the lesion various treatment options exist. These can include Observation with serial MRI scans, Radiation Therapy, Chemotherapy and Open or Endoscopic Surgery.
Meningiomas are the most common benign intracranial tumors, comprising 10 to 15 percent of all brain neoplasms, although a very small percentage are malignant. These tumors originate from the meninges, the membrane-like structures that surround the brain and spinal cord.
Schwannomas are common benign brain tumors in adults. They arise along nerves, comprised of cells that normally provide the "electrical insulation" for the nerve cells. Schwannomas often displace the remainder of the normal nerve instead of invading it. Acoustic neuromas are the most common schwannoma, arising from the eighth cranial nerve, or vestibulocochlear nerve, which travels from the brain to the ear. Although these tumors are benign, they can cause serious complications and even death if they grow and exert pressure on nerves and eventually on the brain. Other locations include the spine and, more rarely, along nerves that go to the limbs
Chordomas are benign, slow-growing tumors that are most prevalent in people ages 50 to 60. Their most common locations are the base of the skull and the lower portion of the spine. Although these tumors are benign, they may invade the adjacent bone and put pressure on nearby neural tissue. These are rare tumors, contributing to only 0.2 percent of all primary brain tumors.
Glomus jugulare tumors most frequently are benign and typically are located just under the skull base, at the top of the jugular vein. They are the most common form of glomus tumor. However, glomus tumors, in general, contribute to only 0.6 percent of neoplasms of the head and neck.
Chiari Malformation - This is a congenital condition where two small protrusions at the base of the hindbrain (cerebellum) protrude down through the Foraman Magnum (The large hole at the base of the skull) to such an extent that it obstructs the free flow of spinal fluid in this region.