In this section: Definition | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prognosis
MRI image showing a typical meningioma tumor
A meningioma is a tumor that arises from a layer of tissue (the meninges) that covers the brain and spine.
Meningiomas grow on the surface of the brain (or spinal cord), and therefore push the brain away rather than growing from within it. Most are considered “benign” because they are slow-growing with low potential to spread.
Meningioma tumors can become quite large. Diameters of 2 inches (5 cm.) are not uncommon. Meningiomas that grow quickly and exhibit cancer-like behavior are called atypical meningiomas or anaplastic meningiomas, and are fortunately rare.
Meningiomas represent about 20 percent of all tumors originating in the head and 10 percent of tumors of the spine.
About 6,500 people are diagnosed with meningiomas each year in the United States. This type of tumor occurs more frequently in people with a hereditary disorder called neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF-2).
Lecture 31: Intracranial Meningioma from UCLA Health System on Vimeo.
The molecular genetics and tumor pathogenesis of meningiomas and the future directions of meningioma treatments. View Meningioma Article (PDF) >
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Most Common Sites and Symptoms for Meningiomas in the Head:
Location - Convexity (on the surface of the brain away from the midline) Common Symptoms - Seizures, headache, extremity weakness, difficulty speaking, visual field deficit.
Location - Parafalcine (arising the meningeal layer between the hemispheres of the brain) Common Symptoms - Seizures, lower extremity weakness, headache, personality changes, dementia, increasing apathy, flattening of affect, unsteadiness, tremor.
Location - Sphenoid Ridge Common Symptoms - Eye-bulging, decreased vision, paralysis of eye movement, seizures, memory difficulty, personality change, headache.
Location - Posterior Fossa (area where the cerebellum is) Common Symptoms - Unsteadiness and incoordination, hydrocephalus (increased pressure inside the brain), voice and swallowing difficulties.
Location - Cerebellopontine angle (on the side of the brainstem) Common Symptoms - Loss of hearing. Facial muscle weakness. Dizziness. Unsteadiness and incoordination, hydrocephalus (increased pressure inside the brain), voice and swallowing difficulties.
Location - Olfactory Groove and sella (bony space where the pituitary gland is situated) Common Symptoms - Loss of smell (anosmia), subtle personality changes, mild difficulty with memory, euphoria, diminished concentration, urinary incontinence, visual impairment.
Optic Sheath - Decreased vision in one eye. | Other - Variable depending on location.
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The decision of whether to, and how best to, treat a meningioma is based on multiple factors, including size and location of the tumor, symptoms, growth rate, and age of the patient (among others). In general, there are three basic options: observation, surgical removal, and radiation.
Endoscopic removal of meningiomas through the nose
Keyhole microsurgical removal using eyebrow incision
The Neuro-ICU cares for patients with all types of neurosurgical and neurological injuries, including stroke, brain hemorrhage, trauma and tumors. We work in close cooperation with your surgeon or medical doctor with whom you have had initial contact. Together with the surgeon or medical doctor, the Neuro-ICU attending physician and team members direct your family member's care while in the ICU. The Neuro-ICU team consists of the bedside nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians in specialty training (Fellows) and attending physicians. UCLA Neuro ICU Family Guide