The skull base refers to the base of the cranium, the part of the skull on which the brain rests. Most people do not have any idea about the skull base and where it is located until they have been diagnosed with a tumor there. It is made up of five bones fused together, separating the brain from the ears, eyes, sinuses, and other parts of the head. The bones that form the skull base are ethmoid bone, occipital bone, sphenoid bone, a pair of temporal bones, and a pair of frontal bones. The skull base is a complex part of the human body and there is a number of openings in the skull base to allow blood vessels and nerves to pass through the brain. The skull base lesions are also called tumors. It is an abnormal growth that can form directly below the skull base or in the base of the skull. Most are non-cancerous and grow slowly over time. In some rare cases, skull base lesions can be cancerous and can easily spread to other parts of the body. This abnormal growth grows near the bottom of the brain or behind the areas of the nose, ears, and eyes. Some tumors grow inside the skull while some others grow on the exterior part.
The signs and symptoms will vary based on the type, size, and location of the tumor. In most cases, the skull base tumors grow inside of the skull, and some tumors originate in the skull base. The tumor occurs usually because
Compressing the optic nerves
Putting too much pressure on the brain region
Decreased hormone production in the pituitary gland
Some of the common symptoms are
Loss of hearing
Issues in swallowing
Reduced sense of smell
A skull base tumor denotes the location of the tumor. Skull base tumors are not all the same and it will be based on their severity and location in the skull. Some skull-based neuron disorders are
Paranasal sinus cancers
It is very tough to diagnose skull-based tumors because many of these complex conditions never cause symptoms. In some cases, nausea, vision problem, and headaches are attributed to other diseases. In most cases, people find they have a skull base tumor after having a causal MRI scan. A perfect diagnosis is doing an MRI scan of the brain. This will help the surgeon find the exact size and location of the tumor.
The main treatment for skull-based surgery is done by a minimally invasive operation called transsphenoidal surgery. The recovery time for this procedure is very high and leaves no scarring. Radiation therapy and proton therapy has been effective for the individual with skull base tumors. Proton therapy reduces the risk of treatment-related side effects caused that can lead to radiation-related health issues in the human body.
Some medical experts may advise treatment including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of all these approaches.