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Clival Tumor Treatment in New Jersey

Brain With A DiseaseA

clival tumor is a rare growth that forms from overproduced cancerous cells in the clivus bone which is located in the base of the skull. This slow-growing tumor causes symptoms once its size has become large enough to cause compression related reactions from the surrounding brain tissue. Removal of clival tumors requires surgery or radiation treatment. The team of highly experienced doctors and surgeons at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics assist patients with their initial assessment of their symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and provide surgical treatment along with care coordination that may involve other necessary specialists throughout the follow-up care. Learn more about the types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of clival tumors in New Jersey.

The Different Types of Clival Tumors

There are different kinds of tumors that can grow on the clivus bone, and each requires their own type of clival tumor treatment. Some tumors may respond to non-invasive treatment, while others may require surgery for removal. Some of the more common types of clival tumors include:

  • Chordomas: This tumor is rare and typically is not cancerous. Chordomas are made from notochord cells, which are embryonic cells that develop into the bones of the spine or the bones in the base of the skull. In the spine, they most commonly appear within the cervical region or the sacral region. In the case of a clival tumor, the chordoma forms within the clivus bone.
  • Chondrosarcomas: This tumor appears very similar to a chordoma within the clivus bone on CT or MRI of the brain. al. While this type of tumor may be malignant, it will not likely spread to other areas of the spine or skull.
  • Lymphoma: Can appear near the clivus bone but has slightly different MRI features than a chordoma or chondrosarcoma.
  • Pituitary Adenoma: Appears next to the clivus bone but may clearly be seen as part of the pituitary gland and not within the clival bone.

The symptoms associated with a clival tumor are due to its compression on the surrounding anatomy. As clival tumors grow, they can damage nearby neurological functioning centers that are essential to both motor and sensory capabilities.

Causes and Symptoms of Clival Tumors

While the current cause of clival tumor development is still unknown, research suggests that certain individuals may be more susceptible to the disease. Clival tumors are more common among men, and typically present between the 50- to 60-year-old age range. A patient’s symptoms vary depending on the location of the tumor and its size. However, the most common signs that indicate the presence of a clival tumor include:

  • Frequent or severe headaches
  • Inability to speak clearly
  • Facial numbness or tingling
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in vision
  • Problems with hearing
  • Coordination issues
  • Motor weakness
  • Nasal congestion

Discovering a Clival Tumor

Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics provides personalized, high-quality analysis and comprehensive care. When diagnosing a patient, the physicians at CNSO will listen to a patient’s medical history, review all previous tests and imaging studies, then complete a neurological examination. Throughout the exam, neurosurgeons will closely evaluate the patient’s ability to complete cognitive tasks as well as physical and sensory capabilities such as:

  • Eye movement
  • Hearing
  • Sensations on the skin surface
  • Motor function
  • Swallowing
  • Smell
  • Balance
  • Coordination

Following a physical examination, if the symptoms warrant imaging studies, a patient will undergo an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. The correct type of imaging reveals to the physician the size and specific location of any structural abnormality. If a tumor is discovered, a biopsy may be necessary to confirm the exact type of tumor. At the same time as the biopsy, the tumor can be extracted if it is the best option for treatment. The exact type of tumor can only be proven via its specimen prepared and studied by a pathologist. Once the tumor type is identified, CNSO can provide the most appropriate and least invasive care.

Clival Tumor Treatment at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics

The team at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics will give patients a better quality of life by using the most advanced surgical or radiation treatment. Below are some of the treatment options available for clival tumors, including:

  • Endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery: This is a scarless procedure that uses an endoscope to remove clival tumors. Surgeons will insert the endoscope through the nose, giving them a direct view of the area of tumor growth. Surgeons then use very small instruments to remove the tumor via the patient’s nose.
  • Craniotomy: A craniotomy involves temporarily removing the top portion of the skull in order to directly visualize the brain and tumor. After the tumor is removed, the skull bone that was initially removed, otherwise known as the bone flap, will be reconnected and secured back onto the patient’s skull. Surgeons will also use this procedure if alternative less invasive surgery methods will not provide adequate visualization of the necessary anatomical structures.
  • Resection: Term that refers to the removal of a tumor or a portion of a tumor.
  • Radiation therapy: Typically prescribed following a surgical resection of a tumor but for some types of tumors, it is best done prior to the tumor resection. The neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist devise the best strategy using evidence-based medicine. Radiation therapy is meant to clear any remaining cancerous growth cells that could multiply and cause additional tumors to appear or shrink the size of a tumor before attempting to remove it.
  • Proton beam therapy: Is an alternative treatment option to radiation therapy. Also prescribed either before, instead of, or following surgery, proton beam therapy is a method used to eliminate cancerous cells and avoid their re-growth.

As part of the treatment decision process, the CNSO neurosurgeon will first consider the patient’s medical history, the size, type, and location of the tumor. Together with the patient and their family, they can decide which method would be most beneficial to the patient’s health and wellbeing during and after the treatment.

Why Choose Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics?

Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics provides patients with top-notch treatment and accurate diagnoses. With the latest technology and top neurosurgeons trained at the premier academic centers, patients can access excellent health care in a trusted environment. The CNSO team of physicians and neurosurgeons has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating a wide range of tumors using the most modern techniques to ensure each patient the best care experience. To learn more about clival tumor care and other brain tumor treatment options in NJ, contact Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics today.


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In order to provide an accurate diagnosis with the most effective treatment option for “back problems” and brain tumors, CNSO is led by neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons. Under the care of our award-winning neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons, Northern NJ patients can have the confidence that their medical condition will be handled with consideration for their comfort and long-term well-being as well as technical excellence.

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