Workload of the Oxford Skull Base Unit

Skull base tumors are rare, probably accounting for less than 1% of intracranial tumors [2], and it is difficult to obtain accurate figures regarding their incidence. Looking at our workload in Oxford does provide some insight into the incidence of these rare problems and their relative incidence in terms of benign and malignant tumors. During the 7-year period up to 2000, we have together seen 501 cases.

Their management involved the following:

• Conservative management with serial scans in 205 cases (41%).

• Radiotherapy/stereotactic radiosurgery in 41 cases (8%).

This workload represents approximately 71 new cases per year. As our unit serves a population of approximately 3 million, the 71 new cases per year represent an incidence of approximately 1:40,000 population per year. Our figures seem to compare to the few groups who have published details of workload. Sekhar and Janecka (1993) in Pittsburgh, USA, saw a total of 780 cases in a 7-year period, and these patients included 605 with neoplasms who underwent surgery, 487 (76%) with benign tumors and 118 (24%) with malignant tumors. This surgical workload represented approximately 69 surgical procedures per year. Donald (1998), in Sacramento, USA, saw a higher percentage of malignant lesions (37% malignant and 63% benign) and had a surgical workload of 27 cases per year.

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