Skull Base Surgery

Tumors that grow in the base of the skull—behind the eyes and nose—are some of the most challenging to treat. These tumors grow in an area that is very close to critical nerves and blood vessels in the brain, head, neck and spinal cord. Even benign (non-cancerous) tumors of the skull base can cause serious complications, such as vision or hearing loss and effects on growth, hormone production, fertility or balance.

Fortunately, new minimally invasive surgical techniques have been developed in the last decade that make the removal of many skull base tumors possible without large and potentially dangerous incisions in the face or head.  Using tiny endoscopic instruments, surgeons can now remove some tumors through the nostrils or through tiny incisions in the eyebrow or the back of the ear.

At Columbia Otolaryngology, we are dedicated to the safest, most comprehensive treatment and removal of skull base tumors. Our highly skilled surgeons have extensive experience in both open and minimally invasive endoscopic surgery.  A multi-disciplinary approach to these conditions ensures that a whole team of neurotologists, rhinologists, radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, and therapists will work towards the best possible outcome for your surgery.

Tumors We Treat

Our specialists are experts in the care of patients with skull base tumors:


  • Meningiomas
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Acoustic neuromas (or vestibular schwannoma)
  • Nerve sheath tumors (schwannomas and neurofibromas)
  • Paragangliomas (glomus tumors)
  • Chordomas
  • Hemangioblastomas
  • Orbital tumors (hemangiomas, schwannomas, meningiomas)
  • Epidermoids and dermoid tumors
  • Juvenile angiofibromas


  • Chondrosarcomas
  • Esthesioneuroblastomas
  • Nasopharyngial carcinomas
  • Adenoid cystic carcinomas 
  • Temporal bone cancers

Learn more about minimally invasive skull base surgery at Columbia.