What is craniopharyngioma?

Craniopharyngioma is a noncancerous (benign) brain tumour that is extremely rare.

Craniopharyngioma develops near the pituitary gland in the brain, which secretes hormones that regulate a variety of bodily activities. A craniopharyngioma can disrupt the function of the pituitary gland and other brain structures as it grows slowly.

Craniopharyngioma can affect anyone at any age, however it is more common in youngsters and the elderly. Progressive vision abnormalities, weariness, frequent urination, and headaches are some of the symptoms. Craniopharyngioma causes children to grow slowly and to be smaller than predicted.

Craniopharyngiomas account for about 10% to 15% of all pituitary tumours. Furthermore, this form of tumour makes up roughly 6% of all brain cancers in children.
Craniopharyngiomas are most common in children between the ages of five and fourteen. Adults above the age of 50, on the other hand, can get malignant tumours.

Symptoms of craniopharyngioma

A growing craniopharyngioma can put pressure on the pituitary gland’s nerves, blood vessels, and brain tissue, causing symptoms such as:

  • Balance problems

  • Confusion, mood swings or behavior changes

  • Headache

  • Increased thirst and urination

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Slow growth in children

  • Vision problems

Diagnosis of craniopharyngioma

Craniopharyngioma has no recognised causes or confirmed risk factors at this time.

A hormone imbalance caused by a pituitary gland dysfunction can be detected using blood and urine tests.

If your doctor suspects a craniopharyngioma, he or she may suggest an MRI or CT scan of the pituitary gland’s surrounding area. These tests can help identify a craniopharyngioma from other pituitary tumours by providing a thorough view of the brain and pituitary gland.

The tumor may be diagnosed and removed at the same time if your doctor orders a biopsy.

Treatment of craniopharyngioma

Surgical removal is the best first-line treatment for a craniopharyngioma. The goal of surgery is to remove the tumour as safely as possible while also improving vision and brain function while avoiding complications. It is reasonable to aim for a more comprehensive tumour removal if a patient has several pituitary hormonal deficits prior to surgery. In order to protect gland function, a more cautious surgical removal method may be considered if pituitary function is mostly normal. A supra-orbital eyebrow craniotomy or an endoscopic endonasal approach (through the nose) can be used to remove the vast majority of craniopharyngiomas. Only 50–60% of patients can have their tumours completely removed due to their proclivity to cling to the optic chiasm, other nerves, and vital blood arteries.

Orbitozygomatic craniotomy

The orbitozygomatic craniotomy is a conventional surgical method for treating problematic tumours and aneurysms at the base of the skull. It is predicated on the idea that it is safer to remove superfluous bone than to modify the brain needlessly.

The neurosurgeon creates an incision in the scalp behind the hairline and removes the bone that forms the contour of the orbit and cheek using this method to remove the craniopharyngioma. Temporarily removing this bone helps the surgeon to access more difficult-to-reach parts of the brain while minimising brain injury. At the conclusion of the treatment, the surgeon substitutes the bone.

Your surgeon’s team may also suggest hormone replacement therapy and/or stereotactic radiosurgery after surgery.

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  • September 16th, 2021

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