Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy for Benign Skull Base Tumors, an Issue of Otolaryngologic Clinics
1 Jan 2009
Robert A. Battista
Benign tumors of the base of the skull, such as acoustic neuroma, glomus jugulare and meningiomas will commonly cause symptoms referable to the realm of an otolaryngologist. Specifically, the symptoms of these types of tumors may include hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, facial numbness, difficulty swallowing and/or facial paralysis. For this reason, otolaryngologists are the physicians most frequently involved in the care of these patients. More importantly, otolaryngologists are the physicians best suited to treat the majority of complications associated with treatment of these types of tumors. Until the last past decade or so, traditional microsurgery has been the main treatment for benign skull base tumors. In the last few years, radiotherapy and radiosurgery have been used with increasing frequency to treat these lesions. The North American Skull Base Society predicts that by the year 2010 a greater percentage of acoustic tumors will be treated with radiosurgery than by traditional microsurgery. In order to prepare for this paradigm shift in treatment, otolaryngologists must become familiar with the different types of radiation treatments as well as the potential complications associated with radiation treatment for benign skull base tumors.