Noticing a bump at base of skull is a terrifying feeling for obvious reasons and may indicate several issues. It could be something as common as swollen lymph node or it could be as serious as skull base cancer. In most cases, you don't have to worry about a bump at base of skull because it usually goes away in a few days, but you may need to consult your doctor if it persists even after several days. Keep reading to learn what could cause lump at base of skull and what you can do about it.
Causes and Treatment of Lump at Base of Skull
Swollen Lymph Node
A soft, movable and tender lump at the base of your skull could be due to a swollen lymph node which is caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
Treatment: In most cases, the swelling will go away on its own, but you may need to take antibiotics if the swelling is due to a bacterial infection.
These are noncancerous bumps under your skin and can appear anywhere on your skin. They grow slowly and don't usually cause any problems. You may want to remove it if it doesn't look good, or if it's painful, infected or ruptured.
Treatment: Your doctor may give you an injection (in your cyst) to reduce swelling or they may consider making a cut to drain the cyst. You may need a microsurgery to remove the entire cyst– this is a safe and effective procedure. Your doctor may also consider using a carbon dioxide laser to vaporize your cyst.
A lump at base of skull could be due to lipomas, which are rounded, soft, movable and benign subcutaneous tumors. They may enlarge to 6cm in some cases and are more common on the trunk, neck and on the extremities. They can also appear at the base of your skull. They are quite painful at times, especially when they grow large and press on nerves and blood vessels.
Treatment: You don't need to look for any treatment if you don't experience any pain. You can, however, consider taking steroid injections to shrink it or have it removed surgically. Your doctor will cut them out using minimal excision extraction technique that leaves you with less scarring. Liposuction is another option available to get rid of the fatty lump.
Some children are born with a lump at base of skull which is called a congenital cyst. They may cause problems when get infected, but that's only in rare cases. They usually appear in the front middle of your neck, in front of the ear, or the sides of your neck. You may also notice dimples from skin all the way down to the cyst.
Treatment: You don't need a treatment for this, but you can have it removed surgically if it's causing discomforts.
Bony Knot on Infants' Skulls
This is not like a congenital cyst, but the bump on infant's skull is usually the outcome of an injury sustained during delivery. It is usually just a bruise in the beginning, but turns into a hard bony knot over time.
Treatment: It is natural to worry about such bony knots on the skull, but parents should not panic because the knot is not dangerous. In most cases, it disappears as the baby's skull grows, but it will take several months.
Irritation Related to Occipital Protuberance
The round appearance at the bottom of your skull is mainly due to a thick, bowl-shaped bone, called the occipital bone. It sometimes feels like a bump, but this occipital lump isn't dangerous. But you may notice some pain, tenderness and tightness in this area when the associated tendons, muscles, or ligaments become irritated.
Treatment: You don't usually need to worry about your occipital lump, but if you experience pain, you should go see your doctor and have it evaluated properly.
Skull Base Tumor
A number of brain tumors will affect the base of your skull as well. You may notice a lump at base of your skull when you have a pituitary tumor, brain tumor, meningiomas or acoustic neuromas. It is worth mentioning that some tumors will spread to your skull base, while others just originate in this area. You are going to experience other symptoms, including numbness, pain, impaired vision, stopped-up nose and impaired hearing. Your ability to swallowing will suffer as well.
Treatment: You will require medical intervention to resolve the issue, like radiation therapy, chemotherapy or stereotactic radiosurgery. Your doctor will require a tissue diagnosis before opting radiation therapy.