Treatment of Meningioma of the Brain in New Jersey

Dr. Raab performing brain surgery.M

eningioma of the brain is a common type of brain tumor. The vast majority of brain meningiomas are benign and may not cause any symptoms until they are large enough to affect the surrounding structures. As a meningioma continues to grow or if it becomes malignant, it can become life threatening. Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, and Orthopedics in New Jersey provides comprehensive care including diagnosing brain tumors, removing brain tumors, providing a rapid recovery from surgery, and monitoring for any reoccurrence. Our team includes highly recognized neurosurgeons, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, doctors, and physical therapists who collaborate to provide each patient a customized care plan for a quick return to daily activities.

Meningioma is a Specific Tissue Tumor

There are 150 categories of brain tumors. Some types of brain tumors also grow in the spine cord because both comprise the central nervous system and are composed of the same nerve cell tissues.  For example, the brain and spine are covered by a layer of tissue called the meninges. It is from the meninges that a meningioma forms. Though a meningioma tumor grows slowly, it may eventually exert a great deal of pressure on crucial blood vessels essentially cutting off the blood supply to critical areas of brain, the spinal cord, or nerves. Thus, the larger the meningioma tumor grows, the more difficult it becomes for the central nervous system to operate properly.

Symptoms

Identifying the symptoms of a meningioma can initially be difficult to detect because the tumors start small and grow so slowly. The symptoms are easily overlooked or attributed to the natural aging process. The early warning symptoms vary depending on the meningioma’s exact location in the brain or spine and can include:

  • Early morning headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Problems with smell
  • Hearing loss
  • Muscle twitches/jerks/spasms
  • Ringing ears

More debilitating symptoms patients may experience are:

  • Personality changes endoscopic pituitary surgery
  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Weakness or mobility problems in their arms and legs
  • A loss of coordination
  • Difficulty forming words
  • Loss of balance
  • Seizures
  • Total or partial loss of consciousness

It’s advised that anyone suffering from any combination of these symptoms, make an appointment to be evaluated by a CNSO doctor. Upon evaluation by the CNSO neurosurgeon, if a brain tumor is suspected, a painless MRI or CAT scan image will be ordered to rule out or confirm the diagnosis of a brain tumor. 

Meningiomas are unique in that they have a very distinct appearance on imaging and thus can be diagnosed with just an image.  Other brain tumors require a biopsy to confirm the type of brain tumor and only then can the correct treatment plan be determined.

Causes & Risk Factors

The older a person is, the greater the odds become that they will develop brain meningioma or a spine meningioma. The condition is most commonly diagnosed in patients who are 65 or older. Women are fifty percent more likely to receive a positive noncancerous meningioma diagnosis, however, men and women are equally likely to develop cancerous meningioma.

Genetics play a role in a person’s risk factor for meningioma of the brain, most notably who have inherited neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1), and schwannomatosis. Individuals with these genetic conditions are significantly more likely to develop cancerous meningioma and multiple meningiomas. It’s worth noting that there is an abnormal chromosome 22 in approximately 80% of all meningiomas. In addition, people of color are at a higher risk of developing meningioma than whites.

Diagnosis

Any symptoms the patient is experiencing provide helpful clues as to whether the location of a potential brain tumor or meningioma can be isolated. The location of the imaging is determined by the evaluation and analysis of the patient by the neurosurgeon based on the signs and symptoms described. If the neurosurgeon detects a neurological pathway, due to the need to verify the existence, location, and the type of tumor, a confirmed diagnosis requires imaging of the brain or spine.

Computed tomography scans (CT or CAT scans) work by taking a radiographic image of the head which is then used to create a 3-dimensional image of the brain. This image makes it possible to locate a meningioma and thus determine exactly which part of the brain is impacted by its presence. The CT scan is particularly useful for observing how much pressure the meningioma is putting on the skull. It can also help visualize whether the meningioma has grown into the skull.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) creates an extremely detailed image of the brain and any type of brain tumor present. The nerve tissue images produced by an MRI are significantly more detailed than those created via a CT scan. The MRI images not only allow for an accurate meningioma diagnosis but also provide a great deal of information about how the meningioma is impacting the brain. The MRI makes it possible to observe if the tumor is causing cranial swelling. One of the characteristics doctors look for when scanning for meningioma of the brain is evidence of a dual tail which is unique to meningiomas.

A cerebral angiogram allows for a closer look at exactly what type of impact the meningioma has on the veins, nerves, and arteries in the brain. The information provided by the cerebral angiogram allows the doctor to see if the meningioma is obstructing blood from reaching parts of the brain and if it has triggered the development of abnormal blood vessels.

Treatment

Meningioma treatment depends on the location of the meningioma and the tumor’s overall size. For small, slow-growing meningiomas not affecting the function of the brain and not symptomatic, the plan may be to simply observe the meningioma. This approach to a brain meningioma requires routine brain scans to monitor its direction of growth and symptoms in order to avoid impeding dangers.

The removal of a brain meningioma via surgery is the most common form of treatment. All benign meningiomas do not require chemotherapy or radiation. Surgical removal is the cure. At CNSO, the neurosurgeons use minimally invasive brain surgery to remove the tumor which allows the patient return to home, free of symptoms, within 2-3 days. 

While a cancerous meningioma is rare, when it occurs, radiation may be used before surgery to reduce the meningioma’s overall size and the impact it has on the brain. Following surgery, to eliminate any cancerous cells that were attached to vital structures and too risky to remove by scalpel, smaller doses of radiation can be used to complete their elimination.

Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, & Orthopedics Can Help

Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, and Orthopedics understands how a diagnosis of a brain meningioma can impact patients and their loved ones. Our dedicated team of recognized board-certified neurosurgeons, physiatrists, rehabilitation specialists, and certified physical therapists work together to provide each patient with a coordinated and comprehensive treatment plan. CNSO offers multiple convenient locations in northern NJ. Call today at 973.633.1122 to make an appointment.

Medical Staff Members of Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics

Our Medical Staff

In order to provide an accurate diagnosis with the most effective treatment option for “back problems” and brain tumors, CNSO is led by neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons. Under the care of our award-winning neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons, Northern NJ patients can have the confidence that their medical condition will be handled with consideration for their comfort and long-term well-being as well as technical excellence.

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We welcome the opportunity to help patients feel more comfortable and confident understanding their options before choosing the ideal treatment for their back disorder or brain tumor.

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