A meningioma is a type of tumor that occurs in the protective coverings of the brain and spinal cord. The majority of meningiomas are benign and grow slowly. However, approximately 10 percent are atypical or malignant and can behave more aggressively.
Meningiomas can occur anywhere that these coverings are found, but they are most commonly found attached to:
- The base of the skull, underneath the brain
- The convexity, the coverings of the outer surface of the brain
- The falx, which is the portion of membrane that separates the right and left sides of the brain
These tumors can sometimes create a bony overgrowth of the surrounding skull and can occasionally be calcified themselves.
The surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center are experts at diagnosing and treating meningiomas.
The symptoms of a meningioma vary according to their location. These tumors may also be asymptomatic, and the routine use of CT and MRI scanning for numerous indications has led to an increased rate of discovery of these tumors. The incidence of meningiomas peaks at around 45 years old, and they occur more commonly in women.
Surgery is the treatment of choice for most symptomatic meningiomas. Even though most meningiomas are not cancerous, they can still lead to significant disability and can be difficult to safely remove. Those that are asymptomatic can be followed with regular scans as they tend to grow slowly, and some may cease growing all together.
Radiation therapy may also play a role in the treatment of meningiomas, particularly for deeply located tumors and those that recur after surgical removal.