Craniopharyngiomas are benign (noncancerous) brain tumors that usually aren’t detected until they grow and start putting pressure on surrounding areas. By the time these lesions are diagnosed, they are typically quite large. Even though the tumors are benign, they can cause significant symptoms. Craniopharyngioma surgery will occasionally be used to remove some tumors. For tumors that connot be removed by surgery alone, other craniopharyngioma treatment like Gamma Knife radiosurgery, radiation therapy or a combination may be applied. At The Gamma Knife Center, our nurse navigators and team of top doctors ensure you’re receiving the treatment that’s best for you.
Craniopharyngiomas form early in life, during embryonic stages of development. These tumors are located along the undersurface of the brain near the pituitary gland, a pea-sized organ that controls other glands and hormones. These slow-growing tumors are rare but when they do occur it most commonly affects children between the ages of 5 and 10. Some do develop later in adulthood or after age 50.
Symptoms depend on where the tumor is located and are triggered by three main factors: pressure on the brain, disruption of the pituitary gland’s function and damage to the optic nerve. Symptoms include:
Computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), endocrine hormone evaluations and neurological exams are commonly performed to diagnose craniopharyngiomas.
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