Craniopharyngiomas are one of the most challenging brain tumors and given their rarity and complexity should only be treated by highly experienced surgeons at comprehensive skull base centers. They arise from the pituitary stalk at the center of the base of the skull and may involve critical structures such as the brain’s hypothalamus, visual pathways, and deep brain vessels. 

Long considered pathologically benign, craniopharyngioma is now classified as a low-grade malignancy that shortens life expectancy. An experienced multidisciplinary team (neurosurgery, ENT, endocrinology, ophthalmology, radiation therapy) is essential for the optimal treatment of both pediatric and adult patients. In fact, short- and long-term outcomes are directly related to the expertise of the surgical team. 

The Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA) has emerged over the last decade as the ideal surgical route for most craniopharyngiomas. Our team at Stanford, led by Dr. Fernandez-Miranda, has deep expertise treating craniopharyngiomas using the EEA. We have developed surgical techniques and described key surgical anatomy that are paramount to achieve complete tumor resection while minimizing side effects and surgical risks. Our intense dedication and progressive experience have allowed us to successfully treat Craniopharyngiomas considered “inoperable” or “unresectable” by many surgeons.

Patient Story: David Silva
Treated for a Craniopharyngioma

David Silva was diagnosed with a craniopharyngioma brain tumor when he was just 22 years old. Over the course of a decade Silva endured five brain surgeries at multiple hospitals, but the procedures were all unsuccessful and the tumor persisted. Silva was ready to give up hope, but then he heard about a neurosurgeon with unique expertise at Stanford.

Read David Silva's Story

Virtual Reality Simulation:

Presurgical Planning on a Complex Craniopharyngioma

Endoscopic Endonasal Approach for Giant Craniopharyngioma

Removal of Giant Pediatric Craniopharyngioma

Endoscopic Endonasal Approach for Recurrent Sellar-Cavernous Sinus Craniopharyngioma