Dr. Kamal Thapar, MD., PhD., FRCSC., FAANS
1200 Oakleaf Way, Suite A, Altoona, WI 54720

Skull Base Tumors

A skull base tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue that develops at the floor of the skull (bones that make up the head). The base of the skull consists of the area behind the eyes and nose as well as the floor of the skull. Tumors that develop within this location of the head are often referred to as skull base tumors. These abnormal growths can be either benign or malignant.


– In the majority of cases, the development of a skull based tumor is a spontaneous event without any causes. In a small proportion of patients, there may be a familial predisposition to developing a skull based tumor.


Symptoms are dependent on the type and location of tumor present but may include the following:

– Visual changes

– Ringing in the ears

– Headaches

– Dizziness

– Vertigo (sensation that the room is spinning)

– Weakness, numbness and/or tingling in the extremities

– Impaired balance and difficulty walking


An MRI of the brain is needed to confirm the diagnosis of a skull base tumor and to identify the location and size of any growth. A CT scan of the head may also be necessary to further evaluate a brain tumor.


The treatment of skull base tumors depends on the nature of the growth, its location, the nature of the symptoms, and the age and medical condition of the patient. For the majority of skull based tumors, some form of surgical treatment is eventually required. This may include tumor removal and/or stereotactic radiosurgery such as gamma knife or conventional radiation treatment.