Department of  Neurosurgery
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Brain Tumors

Brain tumors encompass a wide spectrum of growths that occur either in the brain or in the structures that cover the surface of the brain. These tumors cause various symptoms and result in multiple neurological problems, such as headaches, seizures, personality changes, weakness, visual problems or language disturbances.


At Washington University School of Medicine, there is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team dedicated to the treatment of brain tumors.

Our team includes:

  • Neurosurgeons
  • Medical oncologists
  • Neuroradiologists
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Otolaryngologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Other specialists (depending upon type of tumor)

All meet weekly to review each case and develop individualized treatment plans.We also have specialized neuroanesthesiologists if a surgical procedure is recommended.

Types of Brain Tumors

Washington University neurosurgeons evaluate and treat several types of brain tumors:

Glial tumors
Glioblastoma multiforme, astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, mixed oligoastrocytoma, brain stem glioma, pilocytic astrocytoma, optic nerve glioma, ependymoma, ganglioglioma, and ganglioneuroma

Metastatic brain tumors
Any tumors that spread to the brain from other parts of the body, including meningeal carcinomatosis

Skull-base & other primary tumors

Meningioma, pituitary tumors, acoustic neuroma or vestibular schwannoma, other schwannomas, craniopharyngioma, chondrosarcoma, chordoma, medulloblastoma, pineal tumors, primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET), glomus tumors, and vascular tumors

Benign lesions or growths

Colloid cyst, arachnoid cyst, Rathke’s cleft cyst, and other cysts

Neurological Brain Conditions

In addition to brain tumors, there are several conditions that impact the brain and warrant a full evaluation and treatment by an experienced neurosurgeon. Among them are:

  • Central nervous system lymphoma
  • Neurofibromatosis (NF1 and NF2)
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • Pseudotumor cerebri (also idopathic intracranial hypertension)

Diagnosis & Treatment

Brain tumors are commonly diagnosed with neuro-imaging studies such as computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Once a tumor is discovered, most patients are referred to a neurosurgeon, neuro-oncologist, radiation oncologist or neurologist.

All patients referred to the Department of Neurosurgery benefit from multidisciplinary physician conferences, where each case is discussed by a variety of brain tumor specialists. Our Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board, which includes neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical neuro-oncologists, neuroradiologists and neuropathologists, meets weekly. Clinical, surgical, radiological and pathological findings in patient cases are discussed and potential treatment plans are then determined.

Physicians wishing to submit cases for review should contact the Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board Coordinator at (314) 747-6141.

Patients undergoing treatment by our neurosurgeons have access to highly advanced therapeutic techniques, such as surgery, innovative minimally invasive procedures, Gamma Knife radiosurgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments. Some of the advanced technologies and procedures we use are:

  • Intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI)
  • Stealth®surgical navigation system
  • Intraoperative brain mapping
  • Skull-base surgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Gamma Knife radiosurgery
  • Monteris®high-intensity laser probe

Brain Tumor Clinical Trials

For patients needing additional options for the treatment of brain tumors, our neuro-oncology program has many active clinical trials available to provide novel diagnostic and therapeutic options where appropriate. We work in collaboration with medical oncologists and neuroradiologsits to offer these developing treatment options. Read more about brain tumor clinical trials.

Faculty

Adult Neurosurgery Providers

Pediatric Neurosurgery Providers

Endocrinology Providers

  • Julie Silverstein, MD

Medical Oncology Providers

  • George Ansstas, MD
  • Jian Campian, MD 
  • David D. Tran, MD, PhD

Neuropathology Providers

  • Joseph C. Corbo, MD, PhD
  • Sonika Dahiya, MD
  • Robert E. Schmidt, MD, PhD
  • Richard J. Perrin, MD, PhD

Neuroradiology Providers

  • Franz Wippold, MD
  • Tammie Benzinger, MD, PhD
  • Mokhtar Gado, MD
  • Manu S. Goyal, MD, Msc
  • Michelle Miller-Thomas, MD
  • Matthew Parsons, MD
  • Aseem Sharma, MD
  • Joshua Shimony, MD, PhD
  • Katie Vo, MD

Interventional Neuroradiology Providers

  • DeWitt T. Cross, MD
  • Colin P. Derdeyn, MD
  • Christopher J. Moran, MD

Ophthalmology Providers

  • Steven Couch, MD
  • Philip L. Custer, MD
  • Collin M. McClelland, MD
  • Gregory Van Stavern, MD

Otolaryngology Providers

  • Richard A. Chole, MD, PhD
  • Jason A. Diaz, MD
  • Nsangou Ghogomu, MD
  • Bruce H. Haughey, MBChB
  • Timothy E. Hullar, MD
  • Jonathan L. McJunkin, MD
  • J. Gail Neely, MD
  • Brian Nussenbaum, MD
  • Jason T. Rich, MD
  • John S. Schneider, MD, MA
  • Ravindra Uppaluri, MD, PhD

Radiation Oncology Providers

  • Hiram Gay, MD
  • Jiayi Jay Huang, MD
  • Jerry J. Jaboin, MD, PhD
  • Clifford G. Robinson, MD
  • Christina Tsien, MD

Highlights

More than 425 brain tumor surgeries are performed annually.

Washington University neurosurgeons oversee one of the largest brain tumor clinical trial programs in the United States.