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What is a meningioma?

A meningioma is a tumor that can form on the meninges or the membranes that cover your spinal cord and brain. Meningiomas are most often found near the top and the outer curve of the brain; they may also form at the base of the skull. They usually grow inward, putting pressure on the brain and spinal cord, and can also cause thickening of the skull by growing outward. Most meningioma types are slow-growing, noncancerous tumors. Some contain cysts (sacs of fluid), calcifications (mineral deposits) or tightly packed bunches of blood vessels.

Our approach

We take the most advanced approach when it comes to meningioma brain tumors at the renowned Brain Tumor Center, part of the Northwell Health Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery. 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. We offer leading-edge technology and innovative approaches to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment of both malignant and benign meningiomas.

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

Risk factors

The causes of meningioma are not known, but they occur most frequently in middle-aged women.

How common is it?

Meningiomas represent about one-third of all primary brain tumors.

How is it diagnosed?

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.

Types of treatment

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.

As one of the country's most progressive cancer centers for brain tumors, we offer the most advanced treatments and services, including:

  • GliaSite radiation therapy system—Our center is one of the few facilities in New York state actively performing this procedure
  • Minimally invasive laser treatment—Pioneering the treatment of brain tumors with lasers that are inserted through the smallest possible incisions with the highest accuracy
  • Leading-edge surgical procedures (such as awake craniotomy)—Avoids damage to critical areas of the brain
  • Unique intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) —Guides surgery and ensures superior precision
  • Novalis® stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) —Delivers precise radiation beam shaping that targets tumors and protects healthy cells
  • Advanced chemotherapy treatment options
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