Pediatric Brain Tumors

What are pediatric brain tumors?

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Brain tumors encompass a wide spectrum of growths that occur either in the brain or in the structures that cover the surface of the brain.

These tumors cause various symptoms and result in multiple neurological problems, such as:

  • headaches
  • seizures
  • personality changes
  • weakness
  • visual problems
  • language disturbances

Types of Brain Tumors

Glial tumors

Glioblastoma multiforme, astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, mixed glioma, brain stem glioma, pilocytic astrocytoma, optic nerve glioma, ependymoma, ganglioglioma, ganglioneuroma.

Other primary brain and skull-base tumors

Meningioma, pituitary tumors, acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma, other schwannomas, craniopharyngioma, chondrosarcoma, chordoma, medulloblastoma, pineal tumors, primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET), glomus tumors, vascular tumors.

Other benign lesions or growths

Colloid cyst, arachnoid cyst, Rathke’s cleft cyst, other cysts.

Metastatic brain tumors

Any tumors that spread to the brain from other parts of the body, including meningeal carcinomatosis.

Why rely on Washington University experts to treat your child’s brain tumor?

Washington University pediatric neurosurgeons offer neuro-oncology services as part of a multidisciplinary team that also includes ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists, radiation oncologists, neuroradiologists, medical oncologists and other specialists. The team works with a dedicated group of neuroanesthesiologists. Physicians meet weekly to review cases and develop individualized treatment plans.

We employ highly advanced therapeutic techniques including:

  • intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI)
  • the Stealth® surgical navigation system
  • intraoperative brain mapping
  • skull-base surgery
  • minimally invasive surgery
  • Gamma Knife radiosurgery
  • the Monteris® high-intensity laser probe

Our neuro-oncology program also is on the leading edge of personalized, genetically defined approaches to brain tumors and has many active clinical trials to provide novel diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities for patients.

Pediatric brain tumor treatments

Brain tumors are commonly diagnosed with neuro-imaging studies such as computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Once a tumor is discovered, most patients are seen by a neurosurgeon, a neuro-oncologist or a neurologist. Patients may be treated with surgery, innovative minimally invasive procedures, Gamma Knife radiosurgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of treatments.