Brain stem glioma
Brainstem glioma is a tumor in the brainstem. The brainstem is part of the posterior brain that leads into the spinal cord. It involves the medulla, the pons, and the midbrain. Tumors in this area can vary from benign to malignant based on their growth patterns. Symptoms also vary with location within the brainstem. Brainstem gliomas occur mostly in children and teens. Three fourths of the cases are in children under twenty years of age. It is one of the three most common brain tumors is children.
Symptoms and signs of the brain tumor usually occur as a result of the tumor pushing or compressing the brainstem. Possible symptoms include difficulty with balance and walking, headaches, nausea and vomiting, weakness in the hands, wrists, or lower legs, hydrocephalus, double vision, asymmetry in the face, or facial drooping.
Diagnosis and treatment
The tumor can be diagnosed by MRI scan. The specific type can be identified by tumor biopsy. Some tumors are removable by surgery, but some are not due to its growth pattern and extent of infiltration into the brain tissue. Steroids may be given to reduce swelling in the brain. Radiation is typically used. Survival and outcome vary by tumor type and growth patterns.
Lindsey Parker PA-C; Justin F. Fraser MD