The term “skull base” refers to the gap between the bottom of the brain and the part of the skull that is directly below it. Within the skull base are the blood vessels that supply the brain with nutrients and oxygen, as well as nerves that are critical to functions such as vision, smell, hearing, facial movement and breathing.
The “lateral skull base” is one specific area of the skull base, located at the side of the skull. This portion of the skull base includes structures called the temporal bone, infratemporal fossa, clivus, and middle and posterior fossae. Tumors at the lateral skull base can pose a particular risk to the brain stem, which connects the brain to the spinal cord. This is a delicate and important part of the body’s neurological system.
Advanced surgical techniques can be used to operate on tumors in this part of the skull base without needlessly disrupting the brain. Lateral skull base surgery can be completed either endoscopically or using a microsurgical approach, and can be used to treat conditions like meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, glioma tumors , encephaloceles , cholesteatomas, schwannomas, and glomus tumors. Abnormal tissue is removed in small pieces, often allowing for complete resection of the tumor. During surgery, a neurophysiological monitoring system tracks electrical activity within the brain to ensure that brain functioning remains healthy throughout the operation.
At the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Skull Base Center, our multi-disciplinary team has extensive experience in lateral skull base surgery. Our team of surgical experts specialize in this type of complex procedure and have achieved excellent outcomes for patients from all over the country.
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