Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Craniopharyngioma Overview

What is a craniopharyngioma?
A person with a craniopharyngioma has a benign brain tumor at the base of the brain. Benign tumors can interfere with body functions, but do not spread to distant areas of the body. A benign brain tumor can cause symptoms by placing pressure against parts of the brain, and by increasing pressure inside the skull. Craniopharyngiomas arise from cells left over during development of a fetus. They start to grow near the pituitary gland and the nerves that send signals from the eye to the brain. Craniopharyngiomas are rare and occur most commonly in children. The exact cause of craniopharyngioma is unknown.

What are the symptoms of a craniopharyngioma?
Symptoms of a craniopharyngioma may include chronic headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, loss of memory, and difficulty walking. Other symptoms include localized numbness or weakness, change in vision, and seizures.

How does the doctor treat a craniopharyngioma?
Treatment for a craniopharyngioma includes some combination of surgery and radiation therapy. Anticonvulsant medications and corticosteroids may be required in some patients.

Continue to Craniopharyngioma Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 7, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Craniopharyngioma References
  1. Dipatri AJ Jr, Prabhu V. A history of the treatment of craniopharyngiomas. Childs Nerv Syst. 2005 Aug;21(8-9):606-621. [16044342]
  2. Lena G, Paredes AP, Scavarda D, Giusiano B. Craniopharyngioma in children: Marseille experience. Childs Nerv Syst. 2005 Aug;21(8-9):778-84. [16133277]
  3. Tsai EC, Santoreneos S, Rutka JT. Tumors of the skull base in children: review of tumor types and management strategies. Neurosurg Focus. 2002 May 15;12(5):e1. [16119897]
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