Foramen Magnum Meningioma

Foramen magnum meningiomas are rare tumors, accounting for only 0.5 percent to 3 percent of all meningiomas, and usually appearing in men and women ages 40 through 70. With our experienced fellowship-trained skull base surgeons, Mount Sinai serves as a major center in the New York City and the tri-state area for foramen magnum meningioma treatments.

People with this type of meningioma can experience a slow progression of symptoms over the course of two years or more before we diagnose the condition. These symptoms can include  worsening of balance, involuntary twitching, involuntary tremors related to the lower cranial nerves, loss of muscle tone in the tongue, legs, arms, and hands, pain in the upper neck, back of the head, and/or behind the eyes, and sensation changes to the arms or legs. As the progression worsens, you may experience loss bladder or bowel control.

Typically, we use a magnetic resonance imaging or a computed tomography scan to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment Available

Treatments depend on whether you are experiencing symptoms. If you are, we often recommend completely removing the tumor surgical resection.  We determine the specific surgical approach based on the size and location of the tumor. If appropiate, we can use a minimally invasive endoscopic approach.

Once we remove the tumor, we send it to pathology for testing. Most foramen magnum meningiomas are benign, although rare cases may be malignant (cancerous). If the tumor is malignant, we often recommend radiation therapy after surgery,

Typically, you spend the first two nights after surgery in the neurocritical care unit, our intensive care area for neurosurgery patients. You will likely leave the hospital within three to five days after surgery. There are no dietary restrictions and we encourage you to start physical activity the day after the procedure. Usually the first postoperative visit with your neurosurgeon is two weeks after surgery. You will probably need inpatient rehabilitation to improve your balance and coordination following foramen magnum meningioma surgery.