Procedure

Ependymoma Treatment- Cancer/Oncology, Neurology, Neurosurgery

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A tumor that starts in the brain and spinal cord is called an ependymoma. It usually starts at the ependymal cells in the brain and spinal cord that line the channels where the cerebrospinal fluid flows in your brain’s circulation.

Ependymomas can occur in both children and adults. The first symptoms are headache and seizures in children. However, adults may additionally experience weakness in the parts of the body that are controlled by the nerves, most often in spinal cord.

Ependymomas can only be treated by surgery. Other cases may also need radiation therapy or chemotherapy as well.

Why is ependymoma treatment required?

Ependymoma treatment can remove the entire tumor in the brain or spinal cord; however tumors that form in some sensitive areas may be too dangerous to remove.

After the initial surgery, if the tumour is not completely removed, another surgical procedure may be required. For more aggressive tumors, your neurosurgeon will recommend radiation therapy.

Which doctor to consult?

Talk to a neurosurgeon, who will explain to you about the procedure, the risks and after-care.

What to expect during ependymoma treatment

The purpose of this treatment is to entirely remove or resect the tumor and avoid reccurrence. If the tumor is completely removed, chances of survival are high and reccurrence may be low. But this is only possible if the area and size of the tumor is not too risky.

Surgery is done by making an incision at the back where the tumor is located. The bone will be removed to access the spinal canal. Microscopes are needed to visualize the area where the tumor is located.

Post-operative care

For patients with more aggressive tumors, and if the tumors are not completely removed, radiation treatment may be recommended after surgery. Recovery depends on your condition. You can resume to your daily activities after two to three days.

Complications

Discuss with your physician, so that you can completely understand your condition and the risks involved in ependymoma treatment.

Complications are very rare and may include will be infection, changes in cognition or neuropathies.

Chemotherapy may bring about hair loss, infections, nausea, vomitting and weight loss.

References

  • Ependymoma - Overview - Mayo Clinic. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ependymoma/cdc-20350144
  • An Overview of Spinal Ependymoma Surgery. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.neurosurgeonsofnewjersey.com/spinal-ependymoma-surgery/
  • Ependymomas. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.cancertherapyadvisor.com/pediatrics/ependymomas/article/621727/
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