Diagnosis of Brain Tumors
- MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic fields to make computerized pictures of the brain
- CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
- Angiography —a test that uses x-rays to make pictures of blood vessels after injection of contrast material into your blood circulation
- Biopsy —removal of a sample of brain tissue to test for cancer cells
Stereotactic biopsy—use of a computer-assisted CT or MRI scan to locate the tumor and take a biopsy
- To take a biopsy, the doctor drills a small hole in the skull, inserts a needle guided by stereotaxis (guiding the biopsy using three dimensional techniques) and withdraws a sample of tumor tissue.
and SPECT scans—tests that detect the level of metabolic activity in the brain and other organs by tracking a radioactive substance that is injected into the bloodstream
- These tests are far from routine and are currently not used in the initial evaluation. These may be used to supplement information from the CT and MRI scans.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)—a noninvasive test used to evaluate brain function or disorders
|CT Scan of the Head|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Characteristics of Tumors
- Type of tumor
- Grades I—a tumor that has well-defined borders; primarily found in children
- Grade II—an invasive tumor that can grow and progress to a higher grade
Grades III and IV—high-grade tumors, the most common form found in adults; can grow rapidly and can spread throughout the brain and spinal cord; aggressive treatment is needed
- Grade III astrocytomas are also known as anaplastic astrocytomas.
- Grade IV astrocytomas are also known as glioblastoma multiforme.
Brain tumor. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/brain . Accessed August 21, 2012.
Brain tumor. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated July 18, 2012. Accessed August 21, 2012.
Harrison TR, Fauci AS. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Louis DN, Ohgaki H, Wiestler OD, Cavanee WK. WHO Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System. 4th ed. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2007.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 10/2012 -
- Update Date: 10/11/2012 -