Pineal Tumor Treatment in New Jersey
The pineal gland is an area found in the middle of the brain. It’s responsible for the production of melatonin, which works to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. When growths disrupt the pineal gland, this can cause a disturbance in brain activity. Pineal region tumors are rare masses that form in the pineal gland. This disease mostly affects children and young adults. Physicians categorize pineal tumors into two types, germ cell tumors and pineal gland tumors. Using the latest research and technology to diagnose and treat patients in New Jersey, Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics specializes in the different kinds of pineal tumors that can develop in the brain.
About Pineal Tumors
Pineal tumors can first develop in the pineal gland, potentially moving to the spinal cord through cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Looking at the tumor location, type, severity of spread, genetics, or age, physicians can diagnose the pineal tumor as one of many different grades. Individuals diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma can be more susceptible to developing a pineal tumor. While some patients may not feel symptoms, others may experience signs such as:
- Pressure and pain
- Issues with eye movements
- Problems with walking
Physicians will diagnose a pineal tumor using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine if it is a germ cell tumor or a pineal gland tumor.
Germ Cell Tumors
Germ cells are reproductive cells that travel to the reproductive organs. However, some germ cells never make it to this area. When a fetus develops in the womb, germ cells can move into the pineal gland of the fetus and become trapped. This creates a type of pineal region tumor called a germ cell tumor. A germinoma is the most common germ cell pineal tumor with symptoms arising in teenagers and young adults. Although this is a cancerous tumor, it can grow slowly and eventually diminish through chemotherapy and radiation. Some additional types of germ cell tumors include:
- Mixed germ cell tumors: This is a type of germ cell growth that develops within the pineal gland. Similar to germinomas, mixed germ cell tumors develop through the movement of germ cells into the brain. However, this kind of tumor has a variety of germ cell types within the mass.
- Pineal teratomas: This is a type of abnormal tissue growth containing elements like hair, teeth, muscle, or bone. Pineal teratomas are growths found in the brain that can cause symptoms such as obstructed vision. This type of germ cell tumor comes in many different kinds, each varying from benign to malignant.
Pineal Gland Tumors
The second type of pineal region tumor is a pineal gland tumor. If abnormal growth didn’t stem from the development of germ cells, physicians will diagnose it as a pineal gland tumor. There are many different kinds of these tumors, including:
- Pineal gliomas: This is a type of pineal gland tumor that forms within the glial cells of the pineal gland.
- Pineocytomas: This is a benign mass that appears in the pineal gland. On MRI images, it can appear solid. However, these tumors can consist of fluid-filled sacs. Pineocytomas are slow-growing and will not spread to other areas of the body. But removal can be beneficial, especially if the patient experiences symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, and fluid buildup in the brain. Surgeons will remove pineocytomas through surgery.
- Pineoblastomas: This is a type of cancerous pineal tumor that can cause a variety of symptoms to occur. Pineoblastomas are fast-growing and can cause CSF to build up in the brain. In most cases, physicians can treat this condition through surgery.
- Pineal cysts: This is a common type of mass that can grow in the pineal gland. Pineal cysts consist of fluid-filled sacs and rarely cause patients symptoms. Although pineal cysts are benign, they can still rupture and cause additional complications. If the cyst appears small, the patient will not need treatment. Instead, physicians will monitor the growth closely. Surgeons will choose to remove the cyst if it grows or symptoms such as headaches, eye movement issues, vision disruptions, or fluid buildup in the brain suddenly occur.
Pineal Region Tumor Treatment
Looking at the location and type of pineal tumor, physicians can determine if a patient needs treatment. Smaller tumors may only require consistent monitoring, while larger tumors need more extensive treatment methods. This is especially true if symptoms have become debilitating.
Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics aims to provide high-quality, knowledgeable, and trusted healthcare to patients with pineal region tumors. With a team of doctors and surgeons who are well-versed in their craft, patients can rely on trusted and respected pineal tumor treatment. Using the latest, state-of-the-art technology, Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics provides many treatment options, including:
- Minimally invasive brain surgery: This is a type of procedure that applies minimally invasive techniques to drain or remove the mass. Surgeons will use an endoscope alongside additional tools, typically working through existing openings such as the nostrils. Minimally invasive brain surgery can benefit individuals with small, easier-to-reach tumors.
- Craniotomy: This is an invasive method of surgery that requires opening the bone flap (the top portion of the skull). Surgeons will perform a craniotomy if a pineal tumor is large or located in an area that is hard to access otherwise.
- Radiation therapy: This is a method of treatment for pineal tumors that will not remove through surgery. Additionally, physicians will use radiation therapy after surgery to eliminate excess pineal tumor cells. Physicians typically prescribe radiation therapy alongside additional treatment methods like medication. It can treat cancerous pineal tumors as well as germ cell tumors.
- Gamma knife surgery: This is an alternative treatment to radiation therapy. This form of therapy uses gamma rays to hit the pineal tumor directly. Gamma knife surgery allows treatment to affect only the pineal tumor, preserving the healthy parts of the brain.
- Chemotherapy: This is a form of treatment that eliminates cancerous pineal tumors and germ cell tumors. Chemotherapy uses a combination of medications and radiation to kill off tumor cells. While radiation therapy and gamma knife surgery only affect the area of the brain with the growth, chemotherapy works to kill cancer cells throughout the entire body.
To learn more about pineal region tumor treatment in New Jersey throughout Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Morris, and Hudson Counties, contact Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics today to schedule an appointment.