NameOverview
Acoustic Neuroma Acoustic Neuromas and Vestibular Schwannomas (another term for the same diagnosis) are slow growing tumors consisting of benign, non-cancerous, tissue.  These originate behind the ear directly beneath the brain and reside within the eighth cranial nerve, also known as the vestibulocochlear nerve or acoustic nerve. Acoustic Neuromas occur over time when the buildup of cells in the acoustic nerve sheath become larger than the normal anatomy allows.The word acoustic is derived from the Greek work for "to hear" - akoustikós, while vestibular refers to the vestibule which is in reference to the first cavity of the inner ear. Because of this, the acoustic nerve has two primary functions - first to transmit sound, and second to facilitate balance to and from the inner ear and the brain.Directly adjacent to the acoustic nerve is the seventh cranial nerve, or the facial nerve, which supplies the facial mussels for expressions. The overproliferation of cells from the acoustic neuromas on the sheath of the acoustic nerve cause a compression of the facial nerve throughout the two centimeter canal that separates both nerves. Although acoustic neuromas and vestibular schwannomas are fairly uncommon occurring in one to two people for every 100,000, they can occur at any age, in any sex, and in any ethnicity. The cause of acoustic neuromas can be tied to a genetic defect that normally resists tumor formation; however the cause of this genetic defect is unknown. The link that has been shown, however, is between people who have a history of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), which is genetic disorder that causes tumors to form within the central nervous system.       
Arachnoid Cyst Arachnoid cysts are comprised of a collection of cerebrospinal fluid located between one of the three membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord and can be categorized as a primary arachnoid cyst or a secondary arachnoid cyst. Primary arachnoid cysts are congenital and present at the time of birth, resulting from developmental abnormalities in the first few weeks of gestation. Secondary arachnoid cysts are a result of a head injury, tumor, meningitis, or as a brain surgical complication. Most people with primary arachnoid cysts exhibit symptoms by the age of 20 years old; however, it is not uncommon for arachnoid cysts to be asymptomatic. Arachnoid cysts are four times more common in males than females and generally are located outside of the temporal lobe in the middle cranial fossa. Rare cases of arachnoid cysts involve the spinal cord. 
Chordoma Chordomas are rare malignant tumors that generally are formed in the spine (50%) or skull base (35%). Within the brain, they are located in the clivus which is a bone in the middle of the head.  Chordomas make up only 1% of all bone tumors, tend to occur in mid-age to older adults and occur in males twice as much as females. Because chordomas are malignanat, they are life-threatening and cause death by either growing directly and compressing nearby structures or by infecting other areas of the body, generally the lungs. 
Colloid Cysts A colloid cyst is a rare, non-cancerous or benign, tumor that is comprised of a mucous-like fluid in a round or oval shape. These slow-growing size can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters and are found in the area of the brain known as the third ventricle. When the size of the colloid cyst becomes large enough to impede the flow of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), it results in a buildup of CSF in the adjacent ventricles and causes hydrocephalus and elevated pressure in the brain.
Craniopharyngiomas Craniopharyngioma is a specific kind of tumor on the brain that exists most frequently in children. However, Craniopharyngioma also shows in men and woman who are often over the age of 50.  This type of tumor develops from embryonic cells of the pituitary gland. These tumors are not malignant but can cause problems for the patient due to the mass encroaching on the optic nerves, the pituitary glands, as well as the pituitary stalk and the brain itself.   The tumors themselves are grow relatively slowly and can vary in formation. Some parts of the tumor may have calcium deposits or bone formations, but they can also have fluid inside them as well and can reach a relatively large size. 
Head and Neck Tumors Head and Neck tumors is a general phrase used to describe any tumors that develop from in the neck and above. These tumors can take on various sizes, shapes, and locations, including the oral and nasal cavities, paranasal sinuses, orbits, larynx, pharynx and salivary glands.   These types of tumors can be both benign and malignant. More than 90% of tumors found in the head and neck, not including the skin and thyroid gland, are squamous cell carcinomas.
Hemifacial Spasms Hemifacial spasms are involuntary twitches or contractions on one side of the face. These twitches are paroxysmal spurts of involuntary tonic or clonic activity in the muscles that innervated by the facial nerve. When spasms occur, the facial muscles, which are operated by the facial nerve (seventh cranial nerve), have sudden spurts of involuntary tonic and clonic activity. The facial nerve is what moves the lips, mouth, raises and lowers the eyebrows, and also closes the eyelids. These facial contractions can happen sporadically or can be constant but occur often and involuntarily.  Hemifacial spasms can occur due to damage to the facial nerve, compression on the nerve from a blood vessel, and also Bell’s palsy, also known as idiopathic facial paralysis. The most prevalent cause is pressure from a blood vessel which causes the nerve to misfire, triggering the contraction.
Intraventricular Tumors and Lesions The ventricles of the brain are structures that contain cerebrospinal fluid, which is a colorless bodily fluid that helps to support and cushion the brain as well as the spinal cord. Sometimes tumors form inside these ventricles, which are called intraventricular tumors. Traditionally these tumors are non malignant, but they can increase in size and block the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid through the ventricles which can put pressure on the brain and skull.  Intraventricular tumors and lesions include:  Colloid cysts – form from developmental cells Subependymomas – develop from the linings of the ventricles Central neurocytomas - arise from the septum pellucidum or the ventricular wall Subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGA) – form from supporting cells in the brain Choroid plexus tumors – arise from the choroids plexus, tissue located in the ventricles Meningiomas – tumors of the protective covering of the brain
Meningiomas   Meningiomas are tumors that form in the meninges, a membrane that surrounds the brain and the spinal chord. The meninges, which consists of three layers the dura mater, arachnoid, and the pia mater. On average these tumors a benign with only 10% being malignant. Since the overwhelming majority of these tumors are benign they do not pose an immediate threat until they begin to adhere to other structures and put pressure on the brain. Benign meningiomas grow at a slow rate, thus a patient can have the tumor for a substantial amount of time before symptoms begin to surface. On the other hand, malignant menginomas can grow rapidly or have a spontaneous spurt in growth. Meningiomas are the second most prevalent kind of tumor of the brain. The majority of patients with meningiomas are middle aged and women are three times more likely to develop this type of tumor than men. There have been some reported cases of meningiomas in children but these are very rare as less than 2% of patients are children. About 90% of meningiomas occur intracranially, or inside the brain, with remaining 10% occurring in the spinal chord. Almost all menginomas that occur inside the brain happen at one site. Although it is rare, there have been cases of multiple menginomas that occur simultaneously among different parts of the brain and the spinal cord. These tumors are found in various shapes such as solitary masses, dome-shaped, oval, round, and an uncommon form called meningioma-en-plaque is flat and conforms to the shape of the brain and inside the skull.
Pituitary Tumors Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths that are found primarily in the anterior pituitary gland (adenohypophysis). At times there tumors found in the posterior pituitary gland (neurohypohsis) but these instances are very rare. The majority of pituitary tumors are benign, which are called adenomas, but there are some malignant tumor that arise, which are called pituitary carcinomas, and are very uncommon. The pituitary gland releases numerous hormones that control all the other glands throughout the body.   Even benign tumors can make the pituitary gland malfunction and secrete too many or not enough hormones which can be harmful to the human body. 70% of these adenomas, or  benign tumors, secrete hormones and are called “functional” and only 30% are not hormone produces and are called “non-functional.”  Pitiuatary tumors only make up about 10% of all intracranial tumors. These types of tumors affect both men and women and are most prevalent in people who are in their 30’s and 40’s.  Typical Appearance on MRI of a medium sized Pituitary Macroadenoma causing visual loss  
Rathke's Cleft Cysts Rathke's Cleft Cysts, also known as Rathke's Cysts, is a benign growth that is formed from Ratheke’s pouch. Ratheke’s pouch is part of the embryological development which ultimately creates the pituitary glad. When the pouch doesn’t close properly, which it does in normal fetal development, the remainder can continue as a cleft in the pituitary gland. In some cases this cleft can cause a large cyst which is called Rathke's Cleft Cyst.   These cysts exist in between the anterior and posterior lobes of the pituitary gland. They are usually filled with fluids in a range of viscosities, from watery to a gelatinous consistency and can vary in color.   Rathke's Cleft Cysts are more frequent among females and occur in people in all ages.
Trigeminal Neuralgia Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition of the nerves that causes sharp pains to shoot through the face. The pain is short and frequent and forms from the trigeminal nerve, which is one of the largest nerves in the head and is responsible for sending messages of pain, pressure, touch, and temperature to the brain.   Trigeminal neuralgia is most commonly a result from a blood vessel putting pressure on the trigemnial nerve. When the blood vessel pulses with each heartbeat it rubs against the nerve and slowly wears away the membrane around the nerve root. In about 5% of patients there is a tumor that puts pressure on the nerve, which causes the pain.   The condition is 33% more likely to develop in women than in men and can happen at any age. The attacks of pain most commonly take place in the fall and spring.
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