Osteomas are benign outgrowths of bone found mainly on the bones of the skull. These tumors are slow growing and usually cause no symptoms. The two types of osteomas are compact and spongy. Compact osteomas are composed of mature lamellar bone, while spongy osteomas are composed of trabecular bone with marrow.
Treatment is only necessary for osteomas that are causing symptoms. The preferred surgical approach at UPMC for removing osteomas of the skull base is the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA). This innovative, minimally invasive technique uses the nose and nasal cavities as natural corridors to access hard-to-reach or previously inoperable tumors. EEA offers the benefits of no incisions to heal, no disfigurement to the patient, and a faster recovery time.
Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about any symptoms you are experiencing. Most osteomas don't have any symptoms. When symptoms are present, they vary according to the location within the head and neck and usually are related to compression of the cranial nerves. Such symptoms may include disturbances in vision and hearing as well as cranial nerve palsies.
Osteomas have a characteristic appearance on CT scans. Bone scans may also be used to confirm diagnosis.
Osteomas of the skull base can be approached directly by using the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA). This approach allows surgeons to see and access the tumor well without making incisions in the face or skull. EEA offers the benefits of no incisions to heal, no disfigurement to the patient, and a shorter recovery time.
At UPMC, we take a 360° Approach to treatment when evaluating each patient—looking at their conditions from every direction—to find the path that is least disruptive to the patient's brain, critical nerves, and ability to return to normal functioning. Our neurosurgical team may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches to maximize the benefits of surgery while minimizing risks.