Minimally invasive neuroendoscopic surgery provides an alternative to open craniotomy for many skull base lesions. These techniques provides a great benefit to the patient through shorter ICU stays, decreased post-operative pain and quicker return to baseline function. However, density of critical neurovascular structures at the skull base makes planning for these procedures highly complex. Furthermore, additional surgical portals are often used to improve visualization and instrument access, which adds to the complexity of pre-operative planning. Surgical approach planning is currently limited and typically involves review of 2D axial, coronal, and sagittal CT and MRI images. In addition, skull base surgeons manually change the visualization effect to review all possible approaches to the target lesion and achieve an optimal surgical plan. This cumbersome process relies heavily on surgeon experience and it does not allow for 3D visualization. In this paper, we describe a rapid pre-operative planning system for skull base surgery using the following two novel concepts: importance-based highlight and mobile portal. With this innovation, critical areas in the 3D CT model are highlighted based on segmentation results. Mobile portals allow surgeons to review multiple potential entry portals in real-time with improved visualization of critical structures located inside the pathway. To achieve this we used the following methods: (1) novel bone-only atlases were manually generated, (2) orbits and the center of the skull serve as features to quickly pre-align the patient’s scan with the atlas, (3) deformable registration technique was used for fine alignment, (4) surgical importance was assigned to each voxel according to a surgical dictionary, and (5) pre-defined transfer function was applied to the processed data to highlight important structures. The proposed idea was fully implemented as independent planning software and additional data are used for verification and validation. The experimental results show: (1) the proposed methods provided greatly improved planning efficiency while optimal surgical plans were successfully achieved, (2) the proposed methods successfully highlighted important structures and facilitated planning, (3) the proposed methods require shorter processing time than classical segmentation algorithms, and (4) these methods can be used to improve surgical safety for surgical robots.