Posterior Fossa Meningioma
The Department of Neurosurgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital is a major referral destination for posterior fossa and other types of meningiomas. The Meningioma Program specializes in the treatment of these types of meningiomas and other benign brain conditions.
Posterior fossa meningiomas are tumors that form on the underside of the brain in a region that houses the brainstem and the cerebellum. This small area near the bottom of the skull is responsible for movement, coordination, vital functions of the body such as breathing.
Although the cause of posterior fossa meningiomas is unknown, they are often benign and slow-growing, arising from the meninges, or layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.
Posterior Fossa Meningiomas Symptoms
Posterior fossa meningiomas cause pressure on the brain, spinal cord, and the nerves surrounding them as they grow, according to Joshua Bederson, MD, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery.
Depending on the location of the compression, symptoms will vary according to those areas affected. For example, compression near the cranial nerves can cause the following:
• Double vision
• Hearing loss
• Facial pain, such as trigeminal neuralgia
• Numbness in the face
Whereas posterior fossa meningiomas that compress the brainstem might cause symptoms such as difficulty of walking, loss of balance, vertigo, and nausea.
Symptoms may not always be present as meningiomas can be slow-growing and do not interfere with brain function right away. Most of the time, these types of meningiomas are found incidentally when a magnetic resonance image (MRI) scan is done for another reason. Radiological images with or without contrast can confirm the existence of a posterior fossa meningioma.
Treatment for Posterior Fossa Meningiomas
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the neurosurgery team provides patients with options for management and treatment. “We always strive for conservative management of these types of meningiomas, sometimes electing to monitor them,” said Dr. Bederson.
In other instances, when symptoms become bothersome and disruptive, the neurosurgery team might recommend stereotactic radiosurgery, a minimally invasive procedure that uses precise, image-guided beams of radiation to treat a tumor. Stereotactic radiosurgery might be recommended if a patient has a posterior fossa tumor located in the deep region of the skull, making it difficult to remove surgically.
When surgical intervention is required to remove a meningioma, other minimally invasive procedures such as transnasal resection (removal of the tumor through the nose) may be considered depending on its location and access. Other skull-based approaches to surgery might be recommended by a neurosurgeon following an evaluation of the tumor’s size and location.
Recovery Following Surgical Treatment for a Posterior Fossa Meningioma
Post-surgical recovery depends on the complexity of the surgical intervention. Small, superficial posterior fossa meningiomas that are removed easily might only require a 1-3 night hospital stay. Others that involve more areas of the brain and are larger might require a more extensive hospital stay and prolonged recovery.
Appointments for follow-up with a neurosurgeon are usually scheduled 1-2 weeks following discharge. Physical therapy might be recommended for patients recovering from neurological deficits.
Although the recurrence rate of posterior fossa meningiomas is less than 10 percent following resection, Mount Sinai’s neurosurgery team will continue to evaluate and monitor patients post-surgery, to ensure they are getting the quality of care they deserve.
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From nausea to persistent headaches, the symptoms of a meningioma often depend on its size and location. Learn More
Our experienced neurosurgeons will evaluate your symptoms and will use imaging techniques to diagnosis your meningioma. Learn More