With the founding of the Center for Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Surgery in 2008, Saint Louis University Hospital combined the technology and expertise to advance the treatment of tumors located near one of the most delicate and complex areas of the human anatomy: the skull base. The new and dynamic frontier of cerebrovascular and skull base surgery will evolve partly through the Center’s leadership in clinical trials and ongoing research.  

The Center’s cerebrovascular and skull base surgery team has the options and skill to design treatments tailored for each patient’s specific needs with the goal of fully restoring a patient’s quality of life. Some of the tumors that the Center treats include meningiomas, pituitary tumors, clival chordomas, acoustic neuromas, glomus tumors, salivary gland tumors, nasopharyngeal carcinomas, cancer of the nose and sinuses, olfactory neuroblastomas, juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibromas and congenital skull base defects. The Center also treats the following vascular lesions: giant intracranial and extracranial aneurysms, brain stem vascular malformations and cavernous malformations.   Accessing and safely treating the skull base region requires specially-designed surgical suites, image-guided surgical navigation systems and integrated endoscopic tools. The Center employs the latest in neurotechnology science, including a 64-Slice PET/CT Scanner, magnetoencephalography (MEG), intraoperative MRI (iMRI), CyberKnife, angiographic CT system and the dextroscope.   

The Center includes three collaborative divisions: stroke, cerebrovascular surgery and skull base surgery. There are many different specialists who make up the multi-disciplinary team, including neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists, reconstructive surgeons, ophthalmic surgeons, radiation oncologists, neuroradiologists and endocrinologists.  The team is led by the Center’s director, Saleem Abdulrauf, MD, neurosurgeon-in-chief at SLU Hospital. Each division has a director as well. Salvador Cruz-Flores, MD, heads up the stroke division, Mark Varvares, MD, leads the skull base surgery division, and Dr. Abdulrauf oversees the cerebrovascular surgery division.   Dr. Abdulrauf introduced the Center to approximately 70 medical professionals from the region at the MidAmerica Stroke Network’s educational symposium in July 2008. He discussed the founding of the Center and outlined its primary objectives, namely establishing a regional referral base in 2008, a national referral system in 2009 and an international referral system in 2010. More importantly, Dr. Abdulrauf pointed out that referring physicians are active partners throughout the course of a patient’s treatment and follow-up.  

The Center offers rapid scheduling for consultations, coordinated treatment plans to integrate all necessary care, medical transportation and discount lodging, participation in most major managed care programs and a link to many national patient support organizations.   If you are interested in referring a patient to the Center for Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Surgery for evaluation, please call 314-577-8717.