The evaluation of a chordoma begins with a medical history and physical examination.
A chordoma may not cause findings on physical exam. However, physical findings can suggest the specific location of the tumor in the brain.
Physical findings of chordoma may include:
- Weakness on one side of the body: face, arm or leg
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty walking
- Change in vision
- Difficulty with balance
- Difficulty speaking
- Facial drooping:
- Loss of coordination
- Memory loss
Testing is required to make the diagnosis of a chordoma.
Tests that may be used to evaluate chordoma in the brain include:
- CT scanning of the brain
- MRI scan of the brain
- SPECT scanning:
- A newer method that may provide earlier detection of stroke in some cases
- PET scanning:
- Detects levels of brain activity
- Blood clotting studies
- Kidney profile
- Serum glucose
- Pulse oximetry
- Brain biopsy
Tests that may be used to evaluate chordoma in the spinal cord include:
Continue to Chordoma Treatment
- Fourney DR, Gokaslan ZL. Current management of sacral chordoma. Neurosurg Focus. 2003 Aug 15;15(2):E9. 
- Mendenhall WM, Mendenhall CM, Lewis SB, Villaret DB, Mendenhall NP. Skull base chordoma. Head Neck. 2005 Feb;27(2):159-65. 
- Sundaresan N, Boriani S, Rothman A, Holtzman R. Tumors of the osseous spine. J Neurooncol. 2004 Aug-Sep;69(1-3):273-90.