Meningioma tumors are found in the protective membrane that covers your brain and spinal cord. Because meningiomas don’t arise from the brain itself, they aren’t technically considered brain tumors. They’re treated as brain tumors, however, because they often grow inward and push on the surface of your brain. They may also grow outward toward your skull, causing it to thicken.
Meningioma, which may also arise along your spine, grow slowly and may go undetected for many years. If it becomes larger, however, it can cause a range of significant and debilitating neurological symptoms, including:
Larger meningioma tumors can also cause personality changes, memory loss, or seizures.
Researchers don’t know exactly what causes meningioma tumors to develop, but it’s estimated that between 40-80% of these types of tumors contain an abnormal chromosome 22.
Although no one knows how this abnormality occurs, what is known is that chromosome 22 plays a role in tumor suppression.
Risk factors that have been linked to the development of meningioma include:
For patients with non-cancerous meningioma tumors that don’t cause any noticeable symptoms, a period of “watchful waiting,” or careful observation, is often the best course of action. This means having regular MRI or CT scans, and reporting any new symptoms without delay.
Symptomatic, malignant, or otherwise problematic meningioma tumors are generally treated with surgery, radiation, or both.
Tumors that aren’t in a position to be removed surgically may only receive radiation therapy; radiation is also used to help treat patients with malignant meningioma tumors or patients with tumors that can’t be completely removed during surgery.
Whenever possible, Dr. Melamed removes meningioma tumors using minimally invasive endoscopic surgery techniques. This type of brain surgery is performed with a smaller incision because it’s done with an endoscope or a small, telescope-like device equipped with a light and a high-resolution video camera that allows Dr. Melamed to access and easily navigate the treatment area.
Endoscopic brain surgery allows Dr. Melamed to better see the critical structures of your brain, and to work around corners and in places that were inaccessible with previous techniques.