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Skull Base Neurosurgery

The skull base surgery team specializes in treating complex medical conditions involving lesions at the base of the skull. These include tumors, congenital anomalies, and infectious or inflammatory conditions. Because of the many important structures located in this area, cranial base lesions have long been some of the most difficult challenges for neurosurgeons and their patients.

Our surgeons are skilled in the most advanced techniques and the latest technologies, and we can offer help for conditions that previously may have been considered untreatable. We take a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment, bringing together the insights of neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, radiation oncologists, and other skilled professionals to provide the most advanced and comprehensive care.

Conditions Treated

We treat patients with the following types of lesions in the cranial base region:

  • Aneurysms
  • Stroke requiring vascular bypass
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Acoustic tumors
  • Meningiomas of the cranial base, including olfactory groove, cavernous sinus, petrous apex, and foramen magnum
  • Tumors of the clivus including chordoma
  • Tumors of the orbit
  • Tumors of the nasal sinuses extending toward the brain

Excellent outcomes

WVU surgeons are skilled in the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques and use of endoscopic approaches that provide for safer tumor removal and enhanced patient comfort. The goal is to maximize safe and effective treatment of lesions, while at the same time achieving excellent cosmetic outcomes.

State-of-the-Art Surgical Technology

State-of-the-art technology makes cranial base surgery possible. Our team approach is vital to providing the very best care and achieving the best possible outcomes for our patients.

State-of-the-art diagnostics

Advances in diagnostic technology have greatly increased physicians’ ability to pinpoint problems in the cranial base and to develop a precise treatment plan. We use the latest imaging technologies, including PET, 3.0 Tesla MRI, high resolution CT angiography, SPECT, and others that provide highly accurate images of the brain. While in the operating room, computerized image guidance allows our surgeons to visualize the operative area precisely.

Sophisticated neuro-monitoring enables surgeons to carefully follow the brain’s functioning even while a patient is asleep. These include:

  • electroencephalography
  • somatosensory-evoked potentials
  • brainstem auditory evoked responses
  • intraoperative microsurgical Doppler
  • high-resolution cerebral angiography

Highly advanced treatment

New minimally invasive instruments, some developed by our own faculty, facilitate treatment of lesions in the most difficult-to-reach areas of the brain. The Center offers multi-faceted approaches to treating cranial base disorders, ranging from medical and surgical management to neurointerventional techniques, reconstructive surgery, and advanced radiation therapy including the use of the Gamma Knife.

Dr. Ali Rezai, executive chair of the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, lays out his bold, new vision for neuroscience at WVU. Joining Dr. Rezai are WVU President Gorden Gee, Albert Wright, president and chief executive officer of the West Virginia University Health System, and Clay Marsh, MD, vice president and executive dean for Health Science at WVU.

Research drives patient care at any large academic medical center. As stroke treatment has dramatically evolved in the past decade, WVU Medicine’s neurointerventionists have emerged as national leaders in their relatively new field. Here, Ansaar Rai, MD, WVU Medicine Radiology vice chair of clinical operations, discusses the past and present of stroke treatment.

Neurosurgeons treat their patients through the use of a delicate, targeted procedure; the best neurosurgeons are skilled at several. WVU Medicine neurosurgeon Robert A. Marsh, MD, PhD, says his best approach is unique to each patient, and considers wishes as well as needs.

WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute