Duke Skull Base Program Named Team of Distinction

Duke University’s skull base surgery team has been named a Multidisciplinary Team of Distinction  by the North American Skull Base Society (NASBS). This designation recognizes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care by a comprehensive team of sub-specialists.

Skull base surgery is used to treat conditions including  benign and malignant tumors; abnormalities on the underside of the brain;  and the nerves and blood vessels that support sight, smell, hearing, facial sensation and movement, and hormone regulation.

At Duke, physicians in a variety of specialties including otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, endocrinology, radiation oncology, neuroradiology, pathology, audiology, physical therapy and plastic surgery provide coordinated care for patients. All care is seamlessly coordinated by the patients’ dedicated skull base nurse navigator.

Duke faculty are also leading innovation in skull base treatment. Current research projects include:


  • In the lab of neurosurgeon Patrick Codd, MD, researchers have developed a fluorescent detection method that uses machine learning to aid in classifying tumors during surgery to guide precise tumor removal.  Codd and colleagues have successfully used this technology in pituitary tumor surgeries, and it may improve outcomes in other skull base tumors. They will present their results at the NASBS annual meeting in February 2023.


  • Funded by the National Institutes of Health, head and neck surgeon Brad Goldstein, MD, is studying molecular targets for the treatment of olfactory neuroblastoma and olfactory neurogenesis to understand damage and repair of the peripheral olfactory system.


  • Ralph Abi Hachem, MD, is investigating the role of HPV in sinonasal cancer, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and funded by Merck. He’s also leading the development of a new skull base reconstructive technique, which won the best video award at the American Rhinological Society annual meeting and the results of which will be presented at the upcoming NASBS annual meeting.


  • Drs. Ali Zomorodi, Calhoun Cunningham, David Kaylie, and Howard Francis are studying novel neurophysiologic monitoring techniques to improve outcomes in acoustic neuroma surgery.


  • A project led by David Hasan, MD, is investigating molecular targets for the treatment of skull base meningiomas and vestibular schwannomas.