Chordomas are a very rare condition characterised by a tumour arising from embryonic cells (cells that are part of development in the womb). The 3 areas of the body in which chordomas may arise are the skull base, the mobile spine and the sacrum. The skull base chordomas require management by a team with expertise in skull base surgery. The Brain and Spine Clinic offers such expertise. Emphasizing the rarity of the condition, the symptoms that are produced by a chordoma relate to the invasion of the base of the skull and/or the consequences of the chordoma mass pressing on the brain. The nature of a chordoma is that, over time, it gradually erodes the skull base and, therefore, can affect the structures passing through it, most notably the cranial nerves. Therefore, its presenting features depend on which cranial nerves are involved but, in what is an extremely rare condition, these features can include double vision and disturbance of facial sensation.
The treatment is complex and challenging. It is mandatory to be managed by a clinical team with both experience and expertise in the condition but may involve surgical resection. This initial surgical treatment is usually followed by a specialised form of radiotherapy, proton therapy. The details of management of this condition would be discussed with you in your clinic appointment with one of the two neurosurgeons of the Brain and Spine Clinic. More information on treatment can be found in the treatment section of this website.