Craniopharyngioma is a rare type of benign, noncancerous primary brain tumor that does not spread aggressively. It develops at the base of the brain near the pituitary stalk, a pathway that allows the hypothalamus to send regulating hormones to the pituitary gland.
If you or your loved one has recently been diagnosed with a craniopharyngioma, trust your care to the experts at IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics. In New Jersey and New York, we offer state-of-the-art neurosurgery treatments to patients from the tri-state area.
Signs, Symptoms, and Causes
Many signs and symptoms of craniopharyngioma are shared with other brain tumors or disorders. Others, however, are more unique. These are the result of pressure on the pituitary gland and stalk, resulting in hormonal imbalances affecting various parts of the body. Pay close attention to symptoms, such as:
- Mood or behavioral changes
- Cognitive loss leading to difficulty learning
- Changes in vision, including blurriness, seeing double, or loss of vision
- Difficulty with balance and coordination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive thirst or urination
- Stunted growth
- Drastic weight gain and obesity
We do not currently know what causes craniopharyngioma to form. Fortunately, it is fairly uncommon. The tumors appear primarily in adults between 50 and 60 years old and in children ages five to 10. In adults, they account for only 2-5% of all brain tumors. In children, they are slightly more common, with 5-10% of brain tumors affecting children being craniopharyngioma.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A correct diagnosis is essential to developing an effective treatment for craniopharyngioma. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms, IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics will run diagnostic tests to determine your hormone levels and detect a craniopharyngioma. These include:
- Blood tests
- Neurological evaluations
- Computed tomography (CT) scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics treats most craniopharyngiomas with surgery. In a tumor resection, our Ivy League-trained neurosurgeons use advanced imaging technology to carefully expose the tumor. They then remove as much of the tumor as possible without damaging the healthy brain tissue or pituitary gland. Surgery may be followed with radiation therapy to ensure every part of the tumor has been killed.
We also offer CyberKnife radiosurgery. This state-of-the-art technique utilizes robotics to aim a beam of radiation at the tumor with pinpoint accuracy. CyberKnife radiosurgery can access many tumors that would be unreachable through traditional surgical means. Meanwhile, it avoids damage to surrounding tissue and eliminates the need for an incision. We may follow up with a smaller surgery to remove the dead tumor.
Seek Treatment in New Jersey and New York
IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics is home to a team of award-winning specialists in brain, spine, neurological, and orthopedic procedures. At our state-of-the-art facilities in New Jersey and New York, we diagnose and treat brain tumors, including craniopharyngiomas. Contact us today to learn more about the full continuum of care we offer or to schedule an appointment.