Meningioma belongs among the brain tumors. To be more precise, it is a whole subgroup of tumors, which arise from cells of the meninges. Given the fact that meninges cover not only brain but also the spinal cord, meningiomas can be found both in the cranial cavity and in the spinal canal. The majority of these tumors are benign but the tumors can threaten the patient with their growth itself.
The cause of a meningioma occurrence is not entirely clear. Apparently there is a genetically determined risk, which is evident in patients suffering from certain congenital diseases such as neurofibromatosis. In addition, there is also considered influence of some outer physical factors like radiation.
Small meningiomas may be asymptomatic and they can be found absolutely randomly. The growth of the tumor may compress the surrounding brain tissue. This can cause many neurological symptoms such as epileptic seizures, muscle paralysis and sensitivity disorders in parts of the body, double vision, incontinence of urine and stool, personality changes, dementia, etc. Large tumors may even cause increase of the intracranial pressure accompanied with photosensitivity, vomiting and headache.
Tumors growing in the spinal canal can cause compression of the spinal cord resulting in paralysis of torso and legs.
The tumor is usually found by an imaging method such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. When located in the skull, the meningioma is found in peripheral parts of the brain just below the cranial bones.
The therapeutic approach depends on location of meningioma, its size, symptoms and the patient’s age and overall health status. In an older patient with a randomly found small meningioma, it is permissible just to regularly monitor the status. The curative method is neurosurgical interventions, which should remove the tumor tissue. If the meningioma is smaller and inaccessible for the neurosurgeons, it be can destroyed by targeted irradiation with the Leksell gamma knife.