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Meningiomas

A meningioma is a type of tumor that forms in the meninges, which are the protective layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. About 90 percent of meningiomas are benign (non-cancerous), although some can be cancer-causing.  

Most meningiomas grow very slowly, so they may not cause any noticeable symptoms for many years. However, depending on where they are located, they can place pressure on important structures in the brain and interfere with functions such as vision, hearing, speech, memory or motion. While they can affect anyone of any age, they are most commonly diagnosed in adults age 40-60 and are twice as common in women as in men.

Source: http://braintumor.org/brain-tumor-information/understanding-brain-tumors/tumor-types/#Meningioma

Symptoms

Not all meningiomas cause symptoms, especially when they are small. The most common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision or double-vision
  • Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs
  • Seizures
  • Hearing loss or ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Memory loss

Diagnosis

Meningiomas are most commonly diagnosed using tests such as:

Treatment Options

  • Observation (Also called “watchful waiting”) – If a meningioma is small and is not currently causing symptoms, your doctor may choose to observe it over time. This typically involves ordering periodic imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans to monitor its growth.
  • Surgery – Depending on the location of the tumor, it is often possible to remove all or most of the meningioma through open craniotomy. This procedure involves making an incision in the scalp and removing a piece of bone from the skull. The neurosurgeon can then access and remove the tumor, or as much of the tumor as possible without damaging other brain tissue.
  • Gamma Knife Radiosurgery – Gamma Knife® uses highly targeted radiation to treat brain abnormalities such as meningiomas with submillimeter precision. It can shrink a meningioma up to 90 percent, reducing its impact and controlling symptoms without the need to surgically remove it. Gamma Knife surgery is safer than open craniotomy with faster recovery times and is more precise than any other radiosurgery device including CyberKnife®. Therefore, it is often recommended when the location of the meningioma makes it difficult to remove surgically without damaging nearby brain structures or when the patient may not be able to withstand open brain surgery

Outcomes

A 2016 study of long-term outcomes found that Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery provided durable tumor control with low morbidity in meningioma patients. The overall tumor control rate was 91 percent. More than 87 percent of patients had no tumor progression at 10 and 20 years after treatment.  Among the patients who had symptoms before treatment, 26 percent saw improvement, 54 percent had no change in symptoms and 46 percent gradually worsened.

Source: Am J Clin Oncol. 2016 Oct; 39(5):453-7. doi: 10.1097/COC.0000000000000080.

Follow Up

In rare cases, a meningioma can grow back after treatment with surgery or radiosurgery. Therefore, doctors typically recommend that patients have follow-up CT or MRI scans every few years to monitor for possible growth of the tumor. 

The MidMichigan Difference

  • MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland is a leader in neuroscience and cancer care in the state of Michigan.
  • MidMichigan's Gamma Knife Perfexion is the only machine of its kind in Michigan. 
  • Our board-certified neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists are specially trained and experienced in Gamma Knife radiosurgery.
  • Our Gamma Knife Coordinator will serve as your personal guide, walking you and your family through each step of the treatment process.
  • MidMichigan is located in Midland, Michigan, a safe and friendly suburban community with easy highway and airport access. It is conveniently located for patients in Michigan and the MidWest.
  • MidMichigan provides hospitality services for Gamma Knife patients including lodging and other amenities. Maps and driving directions are also available.
  • We work with your physician throughout the evaluation and treatment process, and will continue to be available for consultation with your physician during your follow-up care.

Is Gamma Knife Right for You?

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(866) 644-2662

Dennis Ouillete, R.N. photoGamma Knife treats brain conditions with pinpoint accuracy that surgical interventions can’t match. Call our Gamma Knife coordinator, Dennis Ouillette, R.N., to arrange a no-obligation personalized review of your case. Dennis can also answer your questions about costs and insurance, treatment, transportation and lodging.

Contact Dennis