Symptoms of a Chordoma

Symptoms of a chordoma depend on the tumor’s size and location. The tumor can cause numbness, back pain, headaches, and vision problems, among other symptoms.

A chordoma in the base of the skull, also known as a clival chordoma, can affect the facial and optical nerves, and cause pain and changes in nerve function in surrounding structures, including:

  • Changes in hearing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Double vision
  • Facial pain or numbness
  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Paralysis of facial muscles
  • Problems swallowing
  • Speech changes

Chordomas below the skull base can press on the spine and nerves and cause the following symptoms:

  • Changes in bladder or bowel function and control
  • Changes in mobility – e.g., weakness in legs
  • Impotence
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Weakness

See Diagnosing and Treating a Chordoma

Our Care Team

  • Vice Chair for Clinical Research
  • David and Ursel Barnes Professor in Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Otolaryngology
  • Director, Center for Epilepsy and Pituitary Surgery
  • Co-Director, Surgical Neuro-oncology
Phone: 212-746-5620
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Leon Levy Research Fellow
  • Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute
Phone: 646-962-3389
  • Assistant Professor of Neuroendocrinology in Neurological Surgery, Weill Cornell Medicine
Phone: 646-962-3556
  • Hansen-MacDonald Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Director of Spinal Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2152
  • Director, Neurosurgical Radiosurgery
  • Associate Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
  • Robert G. Schwager, MD ’67 Education Scholar, Cornell University
Phone: 212-746-2438
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist
  • Alvina and Willis Murphy Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery
  • Director, Brain Metastases Program
  • Co-director, William Rhodes and Louise Tilzer-Rhodes Center for Glioblastoma
Phone: 212-746-1996

Reviewed by: Theodore Schwartz, MD
Last reviewed: September 2020

Weill Cornell Medicine Brain & Spine Center 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787