How Meningiomas Are Diagnosed

If you have a small meningioma, you may not have symptoms. Your healthcare provider may only notice it during an exam for an unrelated issue, such as a head injury or sinus problem.

Larger meningiomas can cause symptoms. Your healthcare provider may use these tests to diagnose your tumor:

  • Neurological exam. After asking about your symptoms, your healthcare provider may do a neurological exam. They will check for changes in your motor and sensory function, vision, coordination and balance. They may also ask about your mental functioning, mood or behavior.
  • Imaging. You may have an MRI or CT scan. These tests show pictures of your brain and nearby structures.
  • Biopsy. Your healthcare provider may surgically remove a sample of the tumor. Then, they will look at it under a microscope.

A neuropathologist (a physician who looks at brain tissue to diagnose diseases) will be part of your care team. This specialist looks at tumors under a microscope and grades them. This involves comparing abnormal tumor cells to healthy cells. The grade gives your care team an idea of how the tumor may act.