Meningioma: What Is It?
A tumor called a meningioma develops from the meninges, the membranes that cover your brain and spinal cord.
Although it isn’t strictly a brain tumor, it is classified under this heading since it may pinch or compress the nearby brain, nerves, or blood vessels.
The most frequent kind of brain tumor is meningioma.
Most meningiomas develop extremely slowly, often over a long period without showing any symptoms.
However, in certain cases, their impact on surrounding brain tissue, nerves, or arteries may result in severe impairment.
Meningiomas may happen at any age; however, they are more often seen in female patients and are frequently diagnosed later in life.
The signs of meningioma
Meningioma signs and symptoms often appear gradually and might initially be extremely inconspicuous.
The following signs and symptoms may occur depending on where the tumor is located in the brain or, less often, the spine:
- Alterations in vision, such as double vision or fuzziness
- Increasingly severe headaches
- Loss of hearing or ringing in the ears
- Loss of memory
- Scent disappears
- Your arms or legs feel flimsy
- Causes of meningioma
It is unclear what causes meningiomas. The cause of certain meningeal cells’ altered ability to proliferate uncontrollably and develop into a meningioma tumor is known to medical professionals.
Meningioma is the diagnosis
Because a meningioma often grows slowly, diagnosing one may be challenging.
Meningioma symptoms might sometimes be undetectable and misinterpreted for other medical illnesses or aging-related symptoms.
You can be sent to a medical professional who specializes in neurological problems if your primary care physician believes that you have a meningioma (neurologist).
A neurologist or neurosurgeon will do an extensive neurological examination and then order an imaging test, such as:
- Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
In rare circumstances, a biopsy may be required to examine a sample of the tumor to rule out other tumor forms and confirm a meningioma diagnosis.
- Meningioma therapy is determined by several variables, including:
- Your meningioma’s size and location
- The tumor’s growth rate or degree of aggressiveness
- Age and general health
If the tumor is found on the front or surface convexity of the brain, meningiomas may be easily treated surgically.
Until the tumor has become big, patients may not have any symptoms at all.
On the other hand, some individuals arrive with a tiny tumor and report having had symptoms.
Meningioma may result in headaches, seizures, and alterations in vision, smell, or hearing, depending on where the tumor is located.
The first approach for the majority of meningioma patients we treat is to monitor the tumor with recurrent MRI scans, particularly for those whose tumors are asymptomatic.
If the tumor is tiny and the patient is asymptomatic, serial imaging with an MRI is extremely feasible.
On the other hand, neurosurgeons must decide if surgery is a possibility if the tumor is producing symptoms like double vision, limb weakness, blindness, paralysis, or seizures.
Meningioma removal surgery should ideally include removing a one-centimeter margin around the tumor.
This kind of excision isn’t usually achievable, particularly around the base of the skull.
A skull base neurosurgeon must be consulted about these deep-seated malignancies in the skull base.
We provide radiosurgery as an alternative treatment for individuals who are poor surgical candidates, have recurrent tumors, or have requested it.
When administering such a high dosage of radiation to the brain, it is important to be as precise as possible. The most accurate radiosurgery device currently in use is called gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery.
Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery, in contrast to surgery, does not completely eradicate a tumor; instead, it renders the tumor inactive and prevents it from spreading.
So, to track tumor progression or lack thereof, the patient will need regular serial MRI scans.
We provide a wide range of therapy alternatives. We could think about CyberKnife or proton radiation treatment if Gamma Knife is not a possibility.
The neurosurgery department is skilled in minimally invasive endoscopic procedures, such as exclusively endonasal approaches to eliminating certain skull base malignancies.
Using a luminous dye that causes tumor cells to glow, we may perform a novel operation that helps to guarantee that the whole tumor is eliminated thanks to Medicine’s Center for Precision Surgery.
Once a meningioma has been removed, doctors at the Penn Center for Personalized Diagnostics may examine the tumor to look for certain targetable mutations that may be treatable with a targetable drug.
For meningioma patients, surgery to entirely remove the tumor results in the best outcomes.
Certain circumstances, such as when the tumor affects the medial sphenoid wing, orbital, tentorial, clival, and posterior parasagittal tumors, may merit partial removal if total removal may impair the patient’s neurological function.
Radiation treatment may lower the incidence of recurrence when the tumor cannot be entirely eradicated.
When treating meningiomas close to the optic nerves or brainstem, stereotactic radiation is very helpful in reducing the dosage to nearby tissues.
How is meningioma treated when it returns?
Depending on the location of the recurrence, surgery will often be done once more.
Radiotherapy may be an option if this is not feasible or if the tumor cannot be removed.