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Meningioma surgery – second life for your brain

Meningiomas are a type of tumors that grow from the arachnoid membrane surrounding the brain. For the most part, these are benign neoplasms – a well-delimited nodes that are connected tightly to the dura mater. The main method of treatment is surgical removal. In most cases, radical removal of meningiomas provides a cure or reduces the risk of tumor recurrence to almost zero. Meningioma is the only brain tumor that is more common in women. These tumors tend to appear at the age between 40 and 60 years, but can also arise in the childhood.

Risk factors

Unequivocal causes of development have not been established yet. However, there are risk factors that can lead to the disease:

  • Age over 40. Most often, the tumor in the brain or spinal cord appears between the ages of 40 and 70 years.

  • Female sex. The risk of developing the disease in women is 3 times higher, which is associated with the influence of female sex hormones. However, in men, malignant types of the tumor are more common.

  • Ionizing radiation in high doses, which contributes to the emergence of various intracranial tumors. According to recent studies, growth can also be triggered by the low-dose irradiation.

  • Genetic diseases, e.g. the second type of neurofibromatosis.

  • Traumatic brain injury or spinal injury.

Symptoms of meningioma

Like most benign tumors, meningioma of the brain and spine is characterized by slow growth and most often occurs without pronounced symptoms. Often, a tumor becomes an accidental finding during an MRI or CT scan of the head. Its manifestations are divided into cerebral, caused by an increase in intracranial pressure, and local, arising from the pressure of the tumor on various anatomical structures of the brain or spinal cord.

Among cerebral symptoms, the following are often found:

  • Headache, which gradually becomes more severe and worsens at night.

  • Visual impairment, in particular double vision and loss of visual acuity.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Impaired memory, mental changes.

  • Epileptic seizures.

  • Weakness in arms or legs, more often on one side.

  • Dizziness, impaired coordination.

Diagnostics of meningioma

Diagnosis is made by CT, MRI, or PET/CT. MRI with contrast is considered the most informative method for detecting benign meningiomas of the spine and brain. It allows estimating relationship of the tumor with surrounding tissues and assessing the condition of the vessels. CT reveals up to 90% of tumors, shows bone changes and calcifications inside the neoplasm. PET/CT is used to detect malignant tumor types. The examination helps to evaluate the metabolic rate in the tumor, and therefore determine the likelihood of a transformation into a malignant form.

A PET diagnostics of meningiomas using 18F-Fluoro-Ethyl-Tyrosine is performed in the PET centers. The advantage of the study is its safety and high information value. It allows doctors to detect even small foci of malignant cells throughout the body in the shortest possible time.

Meningioma treatment

Currently, there are several methods for treating this tumor:

  1. Surgical removal of meningiomas. Surgery allows removing the tumor, but can be traumatic for the patient. The outcome of the operation depends on how close to the vital structures of the brain the neoplasm is located. With benign forms, as a rule, it is possible to achieve complete cure.

  2. Classical radiation therapy is ineffective for treating a tumor. When using it, neighboring areas of the brain and spinal cord may be damaged. It is most often used in combination with surgical removal in order to destroy foci in inoperable areas or to reduce the risk of relapse.

  3. Radiation therapy at the Cyberknife system is a modern and less traumatic method of treating formations up to 3.5-4 cm in size. The tumor is exposed to a directed stream of ionizing radiation. More often this method is applied when the tumor is located close to the important nerve.

The consequences and prognosis of the disease

In benign meningiomas without spreading into the surrounding tissue, surgical intervention often guarantees the patient a complete recovery. Five-year survival rate of patients is about 70-90%. Without a highly qualified treatment the patient's chance to survive tends to zero. Therefore, doctors recommend the removal of tumors.

To choose qualified doctor and the best treatment programs for yourself, just contact Booking Health. Booking Health specialists will answer all your questions, including the meningioma surgery cost abroad.


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