Skull Base Surgery Overview

Dr. Ducic is the co-director of the Baylor Neuroscience Center for Skull Base Surgery based in both Dallas and Fort Worth.

The skull base may be thought of as that area of the skull which rests behind the face and below the brain. It may be involved by a number of different processes including benign tumors, cancers, infections or trauma. Due to its relatively hidden location, tumors of the skull base may be quite advanced prior to detection. Their location also makes it difficult to access these lesions for either biopsy or removal. In order to gain access to the skull base, it may be necessary to temporarily remove or move various parts of the facial skeleton. Few surgeons perform the multitude of so called “surgical approaches” that improve both the safety and ability to remove these tumors. Dr. Ducic performs most of the available approaches to these tumors including orbitozygomatic, infratemporal fossa, Le Fort, maxillotomy or maxillary swing, facial disassembly, anterior craniofacial, subcranial, orbitocranial, transoral and transmandibular. Minimally invasive approaches including advanced endoscopic techniques are also utilized. He has written many articles and given a number of lectures to surgeons around the country in these techniques.

Once the tumor has been removed as much as is safely possible, then the difficult task of restoring the face to its preoperative state begins. This is often time consuming and laborious and may take many hours. Dr. Ducic concentrates much of his effort in the area of facial reconstruction and always strives to maximize the functional and aesthetic restoration of the face. He has developed a number of techniques to optimize the appearance in these patients.

Many different types of tumors occur at the level of the skull base. They have variable growth rates and occur at different periods of life. Some may require adjunctive gamma knife, cyberknife, or other forms of specialized radiation treatment in addition to surgery or as an alternative to surgery in certain cases. These are among a few of the factors that need to be taken into consideration prior to making a final decision about the appropriate form of treatment. Often, these procedures may be performed in conjunction with a neurosurgeon. Appropriate consultations will be arranged through our office if required. It is important to remember that there is no one approach which is suitable for every patient. We look forward to the opportunity to help you and your family make a well-informed decision about treatment.