Brain Tumors

A brain tumor refers to an abnormal growth of cells in or around the brain, originating from the brain or spreading from another body part. These tumors can be non-cancerous or cancerous.

These abnormal growths can significantly impact various aspects of your brain's functioning. Detecting and addressing brain tumors early is crucial for effective management and better outcomes.

At Haynes Neurosurgical Group, our expert team specializes in diagnosing and treating brain tumors. We prioritize using minimally invasive neurosurgical techniques to treat neurological conditions whenever possible.

Understanding Brain Tumors

The anatomy of the brain is complicated. Its various sections perform distinct nervous system functions. Brain tumors may form anywhere in the brain or skull, such as its protective lining, the skull base, the brainstem, sinuses, nasal cavity, and other regions. 

Where the tumor is located determines its type. More than 120 different types of brain tumors have been identified based on their tissue of origin. Brain tumors account for a significant share of neurological disorders. 

A tumor is an abnormal tissue mass that exerts pressure on surrounding structures and blocks regular neural function. On the other hand, lesions include a broader category of abnormalities that can include injuries, infections, or pathological changes in tissue. A brain tumor is a specific type of brain lesion

Some brain tumors may be cancerous or malignant, while others are non-cancerous or benign. However, whether a tumor is benign or malignant, it can still be dangerous. This is because tumors can damage and compress parts of the brain, causing severe dysfunction.

Types of Brain Tumor

Tumors can be classified into types based on their origin, behavior, and characteristics.

  • Primary Brain Tumors: These tumors originate within the brain tissue and are categorized as either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
  • Metastatic Brain Tumors: These tumors result from cancerous cells spreading to the brain from other parts of the body.
  • Gliomas: These tumors emerge from glial cells and include astrocytomas, glioblastomas, oligodendrogliomas, and ependymomas.
  • Meningiomas: These tumors develop in the meninges, the layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.
  • Pituitary Adenomas: These tumors form in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain.
  • Chordoma: While chordomas often occur along the spine, they can also develop at the base of the skull, which is near the brain.
  • Esthesioblastoma: Esthesioblastomas, or olfactory neuroblastomas, can occur in the upper part of the nasal cavity, close to the brain.
  • Hemangioblastoma: Hemangioblastomas are tumors that can occur in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Acoustic Neuroma (Vestibular Schwannoma): This tumor arises from the vestibular nerve, which is part of the cranial nerves in the brain.
  • Trigeminal Schwannoma, Facial Schwannoma, Schwannoma: Schwannomas can occur on nerves, including those in the brain or near the skull.
  • Hemangioblastoma: This tumor typically occurs in the brain and spinal cord and is often associated with Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease.
  • Von Hippel-Lindau Disease (VHL): VHL is a genetic disorder that predisposes people to the development of tumors and cysts.

An estimated 90,000 primary brain tumors are diagnosed annually in the United States.

The following central nervous system (CNS) and other tumor types can also be treated using a neurosurgical approach. This includes:

  • Skull Tumors: Tumors that occur in the skull may involve the bones of the skull or adjacent structures, including the CNS.
  • Nasopharyngeal Tumor: Tumors in the nasopharynx are located at the upper part of the throat, close to the base of the skull and the CNS.
  • Sinonasal Carcinoma: Tumors in the nasal cavity and sinuses may be in proximity to the CNS.
  • Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor: While peripheral nerve sheath tumors can occur in peripheral nerves, they may also involve nerves in proximity to the CNS.

It's important to note that conditions like neurofibromatosis (NF1 and NF2) are genetic disorders that can lead to the development of tumors, including those in the nervous system, but they encompass a broader range of tumors and manifestations beyond the brain alone.

Causes of Brain Tumor

While the precise cause of most brain tumors remains unknown, certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of their development:

  • Genetics: Inherited conditions and genetic mutations can contribute.
  • Exposure to Radiation: Previous radiation treatments may increase the risk.
  • Age: Incidence tends to be higher in older adults.
  • Family History: A family history of brain tumors may elevate the risk.

Symptoms of Brain Tumors

Recognizing the symptoms of brain tumors is pivotal for early intervention. Common signs include:

  • Persistent and worsening headaches accompanied by nausea
  • Unexplained seizures that affect various parts of the body
  • Blurred or double vision, along with peripheral vision loss
  • Memory loss, confusion, and difficulty concentrating
  • Shifts in mood, behavior, or personality traits
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty with coordination
  • Speech difficulties

Diagnosis and Treatment of Brain Tumors

Accurate diagnosis involves a combination of imaging studies and neurological assessments:

  • MRI and CT scans to visualize the tumor's size, location, and characteristics
  • Biopsy tests of tumor tissue for laboratory analysis to determine its type and grade
  • Neurological examination to assess cognitive and motor functions and identify potential neurological deficits

Treatment options can involve:

  • Surgical removal of accessible tumors to eliminate or reduce tumor mass
  • Targeted radiation therapy to destroy or shrink tumors
  • Chemotherapy for cancerous tumors to inhibit their growth or eliminate cancer cells throughout the body

Advanced Procedures for Brain Tumors at Haynes Neurosurgical Group

Our neurosurgical team at Haynes Neurosurgical Group specializes in a wide array of advanced procedures to diagnose and treat different types of brain tumors. These procedures are selected based on the specific characteristics of each tumor. 

Key procedures we offer include:

  • Craniotomy: A procedure involving the temporary removal of a part of the skull to access and remove the tumor.
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery: Utilizing advanced techniques, such as endoscopic or keyhole surgery, for minimally invasive access to specific areas of the brain.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS): A highly precise, non-invasive technique that uses targetted beams to deliver a high dose of radiation for tumor treatment.
  • Brain Mapping and Surgery: Using sophisticated technology to map critical brain functions, such as motor and speech areas, for surgical guidance.
  • GammaTile® Therapy: Surgically targeted radiation treatment for brain tumors, delivered directly to the tumor bed via GammaTiles® placed during surgery.

Advanced Treatments for Brain Tumor in Alabama

If you’ve been diagnosed with a brain tumor, we can help. Haynes Neurosurgical Group will be your trusted ally in navigating the complexities of your condition. 

Our seasoned neurosurgeons use highly advanced technologies and employ a patient-centric ethos at Alabama’s premiere neurosurgical practice.

To schedule a consultation with one of our experts, call us at (205) 787-8676 or request an appointment online. 

Phone: (205) 787-8676
Fax: (205) 785-7944

801 Princeton Avenue, S.W.
P.O.B. I, Suite 310
Birmingham, AL 35211

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