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Published: 2017-07-25

Skull Base Tumors and Tumor-Like Lesions: A Pictorial Review

Akira Kunimatsu, Natsuko Kunimatsu

(Department of Radiology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan)

Pol J Radiol 2017; 82:398-409

DOI: 10.12659/PJR.901937

ABSTRACT: A number of tumors and tumor-like non-neoplastic lesions with different cell types on histology occur in the skull base. A wide variety in disease and lesion appearance often complicates the process of radiological diagnosis. The main role of radiographic imaging is the detection and characterization of skull base lesions, with evaluation of the extent of invasion or preservation of adjacent critical organs. Evaluation of the skull base anatomy and surgical planning by using image guidance are also important for surgeons. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging are the preferred modalities for the evaluation of skull base lesions. CT and MR are used for lesion detection, tissue characterization and assessment of neurovascular and bone involvement by the lesions. Both modalities provide useful information, one sometimes of greater value than the other. T1-weighted MR imaging is useful in detecting skull base lesions, typically surrounded by abundant fatty bone marrow. T2-weighted MR imaging is generally useful for tumor tissue characterization. CT surpasses MR imaging in evaluating intratumoral calcification and bone destruction or hyperostosis. To date, imaging features have been well-reported in individual skull base tumors; however, correct diagnosis by imaging alone still presents a challenge. Knowledge of clinical issues and awareness of variants of skull base tumors are of help in making a diagnosis. The purpose of this article is to review pertinent clinical issues, typical imaging appearances and certain imaging variations of common skull base lesions.

Keywords: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Skull Base Neoplasms, Tomography, Spiral Computed

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