Skull Base Surgery

Henry Ford Health is among the few centers in the Midwest offering minimally invasive skull base surgery. We safely access hard-to-reach areas using techniques that are gentler on your body. Our depth of experience helps patients consistently achieve excellent outcomes and get back to their busy lives.

What is skull base surgery?

The skull base is deep within your head and near critical structures, blood vessels and nerves. The skull base is challenging to access because the tissue surrounding it is so delicate and essential. There is also not much room for maneuvering traditional surgical instruments.

Endoscopic skull base surgery uses long tubes with instruments at the tip (endoscopes) to access the skull base and deliver treatments. This technique involves navigating delicate tissue in tight spaces, which is why it’s important to receive care from experts such as the ones at Henry Ford. We are experienced in performing complex endoscopic skull base surgery and maintain extremely low complication rates.

Skull base surgery at Henry Ford: Why choose us?

You receive services from a team of doctors who completed advanced training through fellowships and specialize in endoscopic skull base surgery. They regularly treat rare and complex conditions without large incisions or holes in the skull. Doctors and patients from across Michigan put their trust in our surgeons. Meet our team.

Seeing a skull base surgeon does not always mean you’ll end up having surgery. Before making recommendations, we perform a thorough evaluation and discuss findings with other Henry Ford specialists. If skull base surgery is right for you, we explain how it can help and what to expect.

Our two-surgeon, endoscopic approach to removing skull base tumors

Two experienced surgeons work together to safely access the skull base tumor and remove it. We are one of the few hospitals in the Midwest to offer this approach, which leads to safer care with excellent outcomes.

Here’s how it works:

  • A skull base surgeon specializing in sinus and nasal surgery (rhinologist) uses an endoscope to create a pathway to the tumor. This requires making a small hole at the top of the nostril and advancing the camera until it reaches the surgical site.
  • A skull base surgeon specializing in brain tumors (neurosurgeon) slides an endoscope into the other nostril to remove the tumor while the rhinologist holds the camera in place.

After the tumor is gone, the surgeon repairs the hole in your skull base using nearby tissue.

Learn more about how Henry Ford’s two-surgeon approach to skull base surgery is improving outcomes.

Conditions that may require skull base surgery

  • Tumors
  • Infections affecting skull bones
  • Repair of tangled blood vessels (arteriovenous malformations)
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Aneurysms (bleeding in the brain)

Cerebrospinal fluid leak (CSF) repair

A tear in the brain’s protective lining can cause a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, which patients notice as a clear watery nasal dripping. Leaks can occur naturally, during surgery, or after accidental trauma like a car accident.

Sometimes a tear in the brain lining is a necessary part of treatment. While tears are potentially serious, they can be safely repaired by trained surgeons using endoscopic methods. Henry Ford is one of the few centers in the Midwest offering this approach. Find out more by reading Melissa's story.


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Call us at (313) 916-1094.

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