Diagnostic Tests for Brain Tumours
CT scanning provides successive X-ray views of thin sections of the brain. Contrast agents are given by injection before CT scanning to improve the readÂability of the scan.
MR imaging (MRI) is a very precise and sensitive tool for evaluating tumors in the brain. Unlike CT scanning, an MRI does not rely on radiation, but makes use of magnetic field patterns with a contrast agent called gadolinium. For evaluating a brain tumor and follow-up, an MRI is generally the preferred method.
It is common to feel anxious before undergoing an MRI. Bring up concerns beforehand as the doctor may be able to prescribe medication to help relieve the symptoms of apprehension. Open MRI facilities may be available for claustrophobic patients, pediatric patients, larger patients, or for others unable to have a traditional MRI.
Gadolinium, the contrast agent used with an MRI, may cause a temporary headache. Tests to check kidney function may be performed prior to giving gadolinium. Because an MRI uses magnetic fields, it is important to let the doctor know if there is any metal implanted in the body.
Biopsies are used to obtain a sample of tissue from the tumor site. Safety and the location of the tumor deterÂmine the most appropriate biopsy procedure. If a tumor is deemed to be operable, the sample is obtained at the same time as the surgery. If a tumor is difficult to access, a stereotactic (or needle) biopsy may be used. A pathologist examines the tissue under a microscope to classify the tumor type and its grade.
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|Relevant Website Sections|
|Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
| CT Scan
|Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan)|
|Visual Field Testing (Perimetry)|
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