The first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis, so your child’s physician may order a number of different tests to determine the type and location of the tumor. Diagnostic procedures for a brain tumor are used to determine the exact type of tumor and whether the tumor has spread.
In addition to a physical exam, a medical history and neurological exam (a test of reflexes, muscle strength, eye and mouth movement, coordination and alertness), your child may require tests such as:
computerized tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan)- a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays. If a low-grade glioma is suspected, your child may have a CT scan of the brain.
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of the brain and spine. For low-grade gliomas, an MRI of the brain is usually done.
- biopsy- in many cases, a tissue sample from the tumor will be taken through a needle during a simple surgical procedure to confirm the diagnosis. However, with low-grade gliomas of the optic pathway and brain stem, surgery (including biopsy) is generally avoided, due to the very delicate structures in these areas.
After we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your child's condition. Then we will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best treatment options.
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