Patients at MD Anderson with tumors of the skull base receive a complete diagnostic evaluation, treatment and follow-up care with the latest techniques and equipment.
Because of the unique characteristics of each tumor type and each patient, experts on the skull base team carefully tailor the diagnostic methods and treatment regimens in each case to provide the best care for each patient.
Skull Base Tumor Diagnostic Tests
If you have symptoms that may signal a skull base tumor, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions about your health and symptoms. Our team of experts carefully chooses the tests that are best for each specific tumor. Radiologists and pathologists who have special expertise in tumors of the head, neck and brain work closely with your doctor to determine the tumor type based on your diagnostic test results.
One or more of the following tests may be used to find out if you have a skull base tumor and if it has spread.
Imaging tests, which may include:
- CT or CAT (computed axial tomography) scans
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
- PET (positron emission tomography) scans
Biopsy: One of these biopsy methods may be used:
- Fine-needle aspiration (FNA)
- Endoscope inserted through the nose and sinuses
- From the ear using a microscope
Functional testing to find out how certain parts of the brain, head and neck are working. These tests are chosen based on your symptoms and where the skull base tumor is. They may include:
- Hearing test: audiogram, auditory brainstem response (ABR)
- Balance tests (videonystagmography, rotary chair testing)
- Vision testing
- Videostroboscopy of vocal cord function
- Swallowing testing (modified barium swallow)
- Neurocognitive evaluation to test for memory and cognition changes
- Hormone testing
- Smell testing