An ependymoma is a rare tumor that originates in either the brain or spinal cord. Ependymomas occurs in both children and adults.

Sometimes these tumor cells spread in the cerebrospinal fluid to one or multiple areas in the brain, spine, or both. The tumor can also spread to other parts of the body, although it is rare.

Medical professionals believe ependymomas develop from precursor cells to the ependymal cells. These cells line the ventricles (spaces in the brain that are filled with fluid) and the central canal of the spinal cord.

Ependymomas can occur anywhere in the central nervous system, including the spinal cord and brain. The cause of ependymoma is unknown.

Ependymomas occur in both children and adults, and the incidence of ependymomas is higher in men than women. Ependymomas occur more often in Caucasians than those of other ethnic backgrounds.

In the United States roughly 2,100 people per year are diagnosed with ependymoma (according to a report by the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS report).

Ependymoma Symptoms

Ependymoma symptoms depend on the age of the patient and the location of the tumor. They can include:

  • A change in bowel function
  • Back pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion or irritability
  • Frequent headaches
  • Loss of balance or trouble walking
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain or stiffness in the neck
  • Seizures
  • Trouble urinating
  • Weakness in the legs

Getting Diagnosed

Our team of specialists provides the most up-to-date evaluations using the latest diagnostic and imaging technology.

We work very closely with the departments of Neurosurgery, Interventional Neuroradiology, Neurology and Radiation Oncology, as well as the Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Center and Skull Base Center to ensure an accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for the best outcome.


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The Neuroscience Institute

We are dedicated to the world-class diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases and disorders.