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Brain Stem Gliomas in Children

What is a brain stem glioma?

Brain stem gliomas are tumors found in the brain stem.

The brainstem is a very delicate location where many pathways from the brain to the spinal cord travel. Tumors in this location can be very challenging to treat. The majority of the tumors are located in the middle of the brainstem and cannot be surgically removed. A minority of brainstem tumors are more favorably located and can be treated with surgery.

Brain stem gliomas occur almost exclusively in children; the group most often affected is the school-age child. The child usually does not have increased intracranial pressure, but may have problems with double vision, movement of the face or one side of the body, or difficulty with walking and coordination.

Symptoms of brain tumors in the brainstem (base of brain) may include:

  • seizures
  • endocrine problems (diabetes and/or hormone regulation)
  • visual changes or double vision
  • headaches
  • paralysis of nerves/muscles of the face, or half of the body
  • respiratory changes
  • increased intracranial pressure (ICP)
  • clumsy, uncoordinated walk
  • hearing loss
  • personality changes

To make an appointment or request a consultation, contact the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Brain Tumor Center at 410-955-7337.

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