When a patient appears with symptoms that could indicate a brain tumor, the doctor will conduct a comprehensive medical history and physical examination. Then, in order to diagnose a brain tumour, a strategy for screening tests and procedures is made up.
Some of the following tests may be ordered by your doctor:
- Physical exam
- Mental assessment
- Eye exam
- Hearing examination
- Testing your facial muscles
- Testing your gag reflex
- Scrutinizing the strength in your limbs
- Checking your balance
- Checking the sensation on your skin
Imaging for Brain Tumor can be done in the following ways:
1. Computed tomography (CT) scan.
A CT scan uses X-rays gathered from various angles to build a three-dimensional image of the inside of the body. To improve the clarity of the image, a special dye is utilized. The dye might be injected directly into the veins of the patient or given as a beverage to ingest. Tumors that are very tiny are difficult to detect even with a CT scan.
CT angiography (CTA):
While the scanner is running, the patient is given a contrast dye through an IV line. This produces comprehensive images of the brain's blood arteries, which doctors can use to plan the surgery.
2. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Unlike an X-ray, an MRI scan employs magnetic waves to produce a detailed image of the patient's inside organs. The MRI can also detect tumor size, and contrast material is injected into the patient's veins to provide a more detailed image.
The following are examples of MRI types:
a. MRA and venography (magnetic resonance angiography and venography) (MRV)
This is done during or before surgery to obtain pictures of the blood vessels.
b. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MR spectroscopy)
MRS is a technique that measures metabolic changes in any section of the brain as part of an MRI.
c. Magnetic resonance perfusion
After a contrast dye injection, a unique form of MR picture is acquired to determine the amount of blood traveling to different areas of the brain. This identifies the tumor’s location, as a faster-growing tumor may require more blood. This, in turn, aids in determining which tissues require biopsy.
d. Functional MRI (fMRI)
This test determines which functions different regions of the brain manage so that doctors may plan treatment approaches around them.
A biopsy is a technique that involves removing a sample of tissue and examining it under a microscope to determine whether it is malignant. Biopsies can be performed in a variety of ways, including needle biopsy, laparoscopic biopsy, and surgical biopsy.
a. Stereotactic biopsy
Imaging examinations are used to guide this type of biopsy.
b. Surgical or open biopsy (craniotomy)
The neurosurgeon may not perform a needle biopsy if imaging scans establish the presence of the tumor. Instead, he may do a craniotomy operation to remove tumorous tissues. Debulking is the process of removing the majority of the tumor.
4. Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
A moderately radioactive material (typically a sugar called FDG) is administered to the patient, and it concentrates primarily in tumor cells. A camera with a lower resolution than CT and MRI scans aids in the gathering of data for future action.
5. Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
If a brain tumor is discovered, a chest X-ray is used to screen for cancers in the lungs. This is because several cases of lung cancer spreading into the brain have been observed.
6. Electroencephalography (EEG)
The electrical activity of the brain is measured using an EEG. It also makes seizure monitoring possible.
7. Evoked potentials
Electrodes that assess electrical activity, similar to EEGs, but only those of the nerves are used. They frequently find auditory schwannoma, a benign tumor.
8. Spinal tap or lumbar puncture
The clinician takes a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) with a needle to search for tumor cells, blood, or tumor markers.
This test determines whether the tumor has spread to the spinal fluid or other areas of the brain.