Meningioma

Overview

A meningioma is a tumor that can form on the meninges or the membranes that cover your spinal cord and brain. They usually grow inward, putting pressure on the brain and spinal cord, and can also cause thickening of the skull by growing outward. Although benign meningiomas are referred to as brain tumors, they do not grow from brain tissue.

Most meningioma types are slow-growing, noncancerous tumors. Some contain cysts (sacs of fluid), calcifications (mineral deposits) or tightly packed bunches of blood vessels. Meningiomas occur most frequently in middle-aged women and represent about one-third of all primary brain tumors.

These tumors are most often found near the top and the outer curve of the brain. They may also form at the base of the skull.

Our approach

Northwell Health takes the most advanced approach to treating meningioma brain tumors at the renowned Brain Tumor Center, part of the Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute. Our distinguished experts have world-class training and experience applying the latest technology and research-backed therapies to treat brain tumors. From diagnosis through treatment and follow-up, we ensure patients are in the capable hands of some of the region's top brain tumor experts every step of the way.

Brain tumor specialists at the Brain Tumor Center offer leading-edge technology and innovative approaches to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment of both malignant and benign meningiomas. As one of the country's most progressive cancer centers for brain tumors, the Brain Tumor Center offers the most advanced treatments and services, including:              

  • Leading-edge surgical procedures, such as awake craniotomy, that avoid damage to critical areas of the brain
  • Unique intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) that guides surgery and ensures superior precision
  • Minimally invasive laser treatment - pioneering the treatment of brain tumors with lasers that are inserted through the smallest possible incisions with the highest accuracy
  • GliaSite Radiation Therapy System (the Brain Tumor Center is one of the few facilities in New York state actively performing this procedure)
  • Novalis® stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) that delivers precise radiation beam shaping that targets tumors and protects healthy cells
  • Advanced chemotherapy treatment options

Causes and risk factors

The causes of meningioma are not known at this time. Researchers have found that for reasons unknown, cells in your meninges can multiply out of control, which leads to a meningioma tumor. Whether caused by a genetic deficiency, an environmental component, hormones or a possible combination of factors, the cause of meningioma brain tumors remains a mystery.

Symptoms

Meningiomas grow very slowly, so symptoms often develop gradually or not at all. The most common meningioma symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Numbness
  • Seizures
  • Speech problems
  • Weakness in arms or legs

Diagnosis and testing

Meningiomas are rarely diagnosed before symptoms begin to appear. If symptoms indicate the possibility of a meningioma brain tumor, your doctor may order imaging tests such as an MRI and/or a CT scan. These imaging tests will allow your doctor to locate the meningioma and determine its size. Sometimes a biopsy is required to remove part or all of the tumor to determine whether it is benign or malignant.

Our team of specialists at the Brain Tumor Center provides you with the most up-to-date evaluations for meningioma brain tumors using the latest diagnostic and imaging technologies.

Treatment options

There are a number of treatment options available for meningiomas. Certain factors, such as the size, location, and aggressiveness of your tumor, will help you and your doctor determines the best course of action. For some patients, this may include taking a wait-and-see approach, especially if your meningioma brain tumor is small and slow-growing and has no symptoms. Other forms of treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, radiosurgery, fractionated radiation and drug therapies.  

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The Neuroscience Institute

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