- BACKGROUND: Skull base tumors are associated with physical symptoms that vary depending on location and surgical approach. METHODS: Skull base surgery patients (n = 138) were retrospectively reviewed and physical symptoms were quantified. Patients were divided into 4 groups by surgical approach (open, endoscopic) and tumor location (anterior, central). Multivariate analyses determined odds for symptom development. RESULTS: Patients with anterior lesions presented with more nasal symptoms compared to those with central lesions (63% vs 6.8%; p < .001). Those with central lesions presented with more neurologic (41.1% vs 12.3%; p < .001) and endocrine symptoms (19.2% vs 0%; p < .001). Three of 4 groups experienced a reduction in neurologic and visual symptoms after surgery. One group (endoscopic/central) experienced a reduction in endocrine and an increase in nasal symptoms. Anterior tumors (p = .02) and endoscopic approaches (p = .002) predicted increased nasal morbidity. CONCLUSION: Physical morbidity from skull base tumors may vary based on tumor location and surgical approach.