Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Skull Base Surgery

Close-up view of surgeor's face wearing surgical equipment

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At Penn State Health, the Division of Otolaryngology−Head and Neck Surgery treats patients with cancerous and non-cancerous tumors that impact the base of the skull. These tumors either start in the nose or grow towards the brain or the base of the skull or can be easily and safely accessed through the nose or ear.

Neerav Goyal, MD, MPH

With modern technology, our joint teams are able to remove larger and larger tumors that sit between the nose and the brain safely.  Whether we are treating tumors of the nose, the brain, or the pituitary gland, my goal is to provide the best surgical option while minimizing incisions and maximizing our patients ability to see and smell."

Neerav Goyal, MD, MPH

At Penn State Health, we have an excellent team of surgeons that work together to care for tumors in the highly sensitive region between the ear, nose, eyes and brain. The team includes neurosurgeons, otologists, head and neck surgeons, oculoplastic surgeons. Our multidisciplinary team holds regular tumor board meetings to discuss the care and treatment for complex cases. These meetings bring together the surgical team as well as our radiologists, pathologists and oncologists to offer a comprehensive treatment plan from several different specialties. 

The Division of Otolaryngology−Head and Neck Surgery has specific experience in removing these tumors through both endoscopic (with either no skin incision or a small skin incision) or open (with a larger incision) approaches. All surgical treatments are customized  to the specific patient. 

We perform all approaches of lateral skull base surgery including: translabyrinthine, retrosigmoid, and middle fossa approaches for complex lateral skull base diseases such as glomus tumors and acoustic neuromas.

Our center also offers Leksell Gamma Knife Icon radiosurgery, which is very effective in stopping further growth and even shrinking slow-growing tumors in the skull base such as vestibular schwannomas (also known as acoustic neuromas). 

Skull Base Surgery Team

Neerav Goyal, MD MPH
Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Director of Head and Neck Surgery

Fellowship level training in open and endoscopic approaches to masses and cancers in the head and neck region as well as the reconstruction of surgical defects in this region.

Johnathan McGinn, MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

Dr. McGinn has been performing traditional sinus surgery for many years and is experienced at approaches to the skull base.

Huseyin Isildak, MD
Assistant professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

Fellowship trained in otologic/neurotologic procedures and approaches to the brain from behind the ear to remove tumors of the nerves of balance and hearing. Dr. Isildak has also training and certification in Leksell Gamma Knife Icon radiosurgery.

Brad Zacharia, MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery
Director, Brain Tumor and Skull Base Surgery
Co-Director, Neuro-oncology Program

Dr. Zacharia earned his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He completed his neurosurgical residency at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and went on to complete a fellowship in advanced surgical neuro-oncology at the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, also in New York City. Dr. Zacharia’s clinical interests are in the surgical management of brain tumors, neuro-oncology research and clinical trials, and Leksell Gamma Knife Icon radiosurgery. 

Michael Wilkinson, MD
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Surgery


Tumors in this region include:


  • CT and MRI: In order to best cater treatments and surgical options to our individual patients, we may incorporate CT and MRI imaging of the head and face.
  • Image Guidance Technology: We incorporate the use of image guidance technology that allows us to intraoperatively assess the tumor relative to important structures including nerves and blood vessels.


  • Surgery: Surgical treatment includes endoscopic or open approaches
  • Radiation /Chemotherapy: Depending on the type of tumor or mass, other treatments including radiation and/or chemotherapy may be a part of the treatment plan
  • Leksell Gamma Knife Icon radiosurgery for acoustic neuromas or vestibular schwannomas


Referring physicians

To transfer or refer a patient, please call 717-531-6822