Cavernous sinus tumors

Cavernous sinus tumors

Cavernous sinus tumors are either meningiomas, located in the thin layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord or neurofibromas, located in the nerve sheath. The cavernous sinus is an area of the brain located next to the pituitary. These tumors are usually benign, but can be malignant in some cases. Common symptoms include pain, numbness, burning, and muscle weakness, however, a loss of balance and/or dizziness can also occur. A thorough physical and complete neurological examination should be undertaken with magnetic resonance imaging.

The three most common treatments of cavernous sinus tumors are: observation, non-surgical radiation therapy (SRS), and microsurgical resection (corrective surgery). Observation is chosen when a patient presents as asymptomatic or with mild symptoms because meningiomas typically grow very slowly and can remain dormant for extended periods of time. Regular scans should be performed with careful monitoring for change. If tests indicate the tumor has spread, SRS is an option and can provide temporary relief of symptoms. Due to its challenges, surgery to completely remove the tumor is only performed when the patient has become symptomatically disabled, such as when the optic nerves have become compressed.



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