Pediatric Neurosurgery

Brain and Spinal Tumors

Brain Tumors

Children's brain tumors are different than adults. Most of the time they develop in the cerebellum rather than the upper part of the brain, and are made of different kinds of tumor cells than in adults. Some tumors can be cured with surgery alone, some will require additional treatments including chemotherapy and radiation. All patients will have at least a biopsy (a small piece of the tumor is removed rather than the whole thing) for the pathologist to decide exactly what kind of tumor your child has. Depending on the exact type, additional tests and treatments may be required. We will involve the whole brain tumor team here in your child's care, and discuss the diagnosis and options with your family.

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Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors include those within the spinal cord/nerves, and those arising from the tissues surrounding the spinal cord including the dura, cartilage and bone. These tumors cause symptoms by compressing the normal nerve tissue and causing weakness, numbness, pain, and loss of bowel/bladder control. Tumors within the nerve tissue almost never cause pain, but tumors from the bone and cartilage can. Fractures or deformation of the bones can cause problems with posture and gait, and may the be first symptom of a tumor. Your child may have many studies including x-rays, CTs, MRIs and maybe even nerve and bladder testing to help determine what kind of tumor is present, and evaluate the risks and benefits of surgery. Surgery will almost always be necessary for both diagnosis and treatment of the tumor. Further treatment will depend upon the final diagnosis after surgery.

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