Highly Specialized Surgery to Remove Difficult-To-Reach Tumors

Hackensack Meridian Health is a national leader in providing treatment for adults and children with tumors and other abnormalities of the cranial base — an area that requires a team of highly trained surgeons with expertise in the latest techniques, tools and approaches in accessing tumors in hard-to-reach areas.

Our surgeons work collaboratively to provide you with a personalized treatment plan so you can return to your normal lifestyle as quickly and safely as possible.

What is Cranial Base Surgery?

Cranial (skull) base surgery removes cancerous and noncancerous growths and abnormalities on the skull base, the underside of the brain or the top vertebrae of the spinal column.

Because tumors of the skull base are difficult to see and reach, removing them requires a team of sophisticated specialists, including fellowship-trained adult and pediatric neurosurgeons, fellowship-trained skull base otolaryngologists (ENT) and craniofacial plastic surgeons, ophthalmologists and oculoplastic surgeons, as well as medical neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, epileptologists, intensivists, neuro-radiologists palliative medicine specialists, and neuro-pathologists.

We perform skull base surgery in one of the following ways:

  • Minimally-invasive skull base surgery (endoscopic): With this approach, a surgeon can access the growth by making a small opening inside the nose while utilizing an endoscope – a thin, flexible tube that provides light and a camera to see inside the body. Throughout the procedure, the team utilizes Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to ensure that the growth has been removed.
  • Open skull base surgery: This approach may require incisions in the facial area and/or within the skull to provide access to tumors or growths and may require pieces of bone to be removed.

What Is Cranial Base Surgery Used For?

Cranial base surgery helps to treat the following:


  • Cysts
  • Growths caused by infections
  • Pituitary gland tumors (adenomas)
  • Meningiomas, benign (noncancerous) tumors that grow on the membranes that cover the brain or spinal cord inside the skull
  • Chordomas, slow-growing, malignant (cancerous) bone tumors usually found at the base of the skull but can be found all the way down to the tailbone
  • Craniopharyngiomas, rare tumors that grow near the pituitary gland, typically affecting children but can also affect adults
  • Other benign and malignant tumors that grow at the base of the skull


  • Trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic, intense pain that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from the face to the brain
  • Craniosynostosis, occurring when an infant’s bones within the skull close too early, causing issues with brain growth and shape of the skull
  • Cerebrospinal fluid fistulas, typically found with fractures within the skull base that connect with the nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses or middle ear
  • Cerebral (intracranial) aneurysm, a weakness that occurs inside a blood vessel located inside the brain that expands and fills with blood
  • Arteriovenous malformations, abnormal blood vessels that connect arteries and veins within the brain
For More Information

Why Choose Hackensack Meridian Health For Your Cranial Base Surgery?


Hackensack University Medical Center is ranked as one of the top 50 neurosurgical programs in the country, and Jersey Shore University Medical Center has received the Healthgrades Cranial Neurosurgery Excellence Award.


Our neurosciences care consistently ranks among the best in New Jersey, including for brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, stroke, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

Patient Experience

We believe you and your family are vital members of the care team, which is why we are committed to working closely with you on your individual course of treatment. Our team is here for you with comprehensive care from prevention to diagnosis, treatment to rehabilitation.

Our Doctors

Our care blends high-end technology with the compassion and personal touch that each individual patient deserves. We strive to provide each patient with a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan often utilizing conservative care when appropriate.

Dr. Colicchio
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