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  • Brain Stem Glioma

    A brainstem glioma tumor develops in the part of the brain known as the brainstem (located in between the fourth ventricle and the aqueduct of the sylvius, where the brain connects to the spinal cord).

    There are three classifications that give the tumor a distinct anatomic location of the brainstem glioma:

    • Tectal
    • Cervicomedullary
    • Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine

    Patients tend to survive longer with the cervicomedullary and tectal gliomas. The most severe classification of the brainstem gliomas tumor is the intrinsic pontine gliomas. There are various factors that help to characterize the tumor, which includes the site of origin, direction / extent of its growth, the presence or absence of hemorrhage, hydrocephalus, cysts and necrosis; degree of the tumor enlargement and the degree of the exophytic growth.

    Brainstem gliomas tumor usually originate fromt the left side of the brain and most are located in the pons. These tumorous growths can be very aggressive. Cranial nerve or long tract signs are usually associated with the pontine and cervicomedullary lesions and hydrocephalus sometimes occurs with tectal lesions.

    About 2.4% of the the reported brainstem gliomas cases are intracranial tumors in adults. Intracranial tumors found in children make up 9.4% of the cases reported. Race, age, sex and ethnic group do play a role in the cases with brainstem gliomas.

    Risk Factors and Causes

    There are no known causes of the brainstem glioma tumor. Some of the causes include genetic factors and genetic conditions.

    Signs and Symptoms

    Some of the symptoms that are known to be found associated with brainstem glioma include:

    • Difficulty Talking
    • Vomiting
    • Weakness in the Arms and Legs (causing clumsiness, wobbliness and walking disabilities)
    • Drooping of the Face
    • Double Vision
    • Inability to Close Eyelids
    • Headache


    Most of the brainstem gliomas cases can be cured through surgery. With this option, a biopsy is done, which involves removing a portion of the skull to gain access to the tumor; a needle is then used to remove a sample of the brain tissue. A microscope is used to look over the sample to determine whether it has cancer cells or not. If some are found, the surgeon will attempt to safely remove as much of the tumor as possible from that area.


    Different factors are overviewed to determine the prognosis of brainstem gliomas. Some of the factors include, the type of brainstem glioma, the location of the tumor, if the tumor has spread, if it’s found in a child with neurofibromatosis type 1 condition and if the tumor is recurring or newly diagnosed.


    There is no sure way to prevent brainstem gliomas from developing. The best way to survive the tumor is to get checked by the doctor right away if you are having any of the symptoms associated with brainstem gliomas. This will help to prevent the tumor from spreading and causing more complications with recovery.