Advanced Diagnosis & Treatment for Brain Tumors

The Brain Tumor Center at Mischer Neuroscience Institute specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of tumors of the brain and spine. Our fellowship-trained team of neurological specialists are dedicated to combining their clinical expertise and the latest technology with compassionate care to bring hope for patients who face the challenges of life after a brain tumor or spine tumor diagnosis.

The medical team at the Brain Tumor Center includes specialists from multiple disciplines – including oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, radiation oncology and genetic counseling.

This team-based, multidisciplinary approach means that each of our patients benefits from a broad range of expertise, the newest therapies, access to groundbreaking clinical trials and the highest quality services and outcomes across the continuum of care. We provide a comprehensive range of treatment options, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Brain Tumor Types

The medical team at the Mischer Neuroscience Institute is highly skilled in treating a wide range of primary and metastatic tumors, from simple to the most complex of cases, including:

Brain Tumor Common Symptoms

Symptoms of brain tumor vary based on their location, size and how quickly they are growing. Each person may experience a different set of symptoms, and some may not exhibit any symptoms in the early stages.

As tumors in the brain grow, they can increase pressure in the skull, which may cause a variety of symptoms. While many brain tumor symptoms are common to other conditions, you should be aware of some of the warning signs so that you can seek medical care quickly. Memorial Hermann Mischer Neurosciences share common brain tumor symptoms you should not ignore.

Brain Tumor Symptom - Confusion


Confusion can be a sign of brain tumor, particularly in the later stages. People may have difficulty comprehending what others are saying, or they may struggle to understand things they see and hear. Sometimes this confusion causes anxiety or aggression.

Brain Tumor Symptom - Vision Difficulties

Vision Difficulties

Blurry or double vision may occur with a brain tumor. These visual difficulties may be caused by the tumor's effect on the nervous system, including the optic and cranial nerve function.

Brain Tumor Symptom - Hearing Loss

Hearing Loss

A tumor near certain cranial nerves can affect hearing in one or both ears. Hearing loss is sometimes a late sign of brain tumor. A new difficulty with hearing should be evaluated by a physician immediately.

Brain Tumor Symptom - Speech Difficulties

Speech Difficulties

Slowed or slurred speech may be a sign of brain tumor. Tumors that appear in the back portion of the brain may affect the normal rhythm of speech and make it difficult to speak clearly.

Brain Tumor Symptom - Headaches


Headaches are a common condition, and most headaches do not indicate brain tumor. However, frequent, ongoing and severe headaches are cause for concern, especially if they occur in the morning and are accompanied by vomiting.

Brain Tumor Symptom - Nausea


Nausea is a common condition and usually does not indicate a brain tumor. If nausea occurs with headache, weakness or loss of sensation, especially during the morning, you should seek medical care.

Brain Tumor Symptom - Vomiting


Vomiting in the morning (unless you are pregnant) should be evaluated. Vomiting along with headache is a concern that should be addressed by a physician.

Brain Tumor Symptom - Weakness or Numbness in the Arms and Legs

Weakness or Numbness in the Arms and Legs

Weakness, numbness or tingling in one part or on one side of the body is a cause for concern. This may affect your movement and physical sensation. A tumor on the right side of the brain can lead to weakness on the left side of the body. Likewise, a tumor on the left side of the brain can affect the right side of the body.

Brain Tumor Symptom - Balance and/or Walking Difficulties

Balance and/or Walking Difficulties

A tumor in the lower, back portion of the brain can affect your coordination, balance and ability to walk.

Brain Tumor Symptom - Seizures


Approximately half of people with brain tumors will experience one or more seizures. The type and severity of seizure are determined by the location of the tumor. Tumors located in the outermost part of the brain tissue (cerebral cortex) are common triggers for seizure activity. Your doctor might recommend an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan to determine the exact cause of the seizures.

How Are Brain Tumors Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of a brain tumor typically begins with a neurological examination. A review of the patient's medical history and a physical exam is performed when a patient complains of symptoms that suggest a brain tumor. The neurological exam is also performed which includes examination of eye movements, hearing, muscle movement, balance, coordination, sense of smell, etc.

Brain Imaging & Tumor Biopsies

Once initial evaluations are completed, patients may undergo neuroimaging such as an MRI, CT and/or PET scan. Your neurologist may also suggest a biopsy in which a small sample of tissue is surgically removed from the suspected tumor and examined under a microscope for malignance. The results of the biopsy also provide information on the brain tumor cancer cell type.

Diagnostic Tools

The technologically advanced instrumentation available at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center allows for the prognosis, diagnosis and removal of difficult tumors:

  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS)
  • Functional MRI (fMRI)
  • Selective cerebral angiography with pre-op tumor embolization
  • Frameless stereotactic navigation
  • Gamma Knife
  • Intracavitary chemotherapy
  • Intraoperative neurophysiology
  • Intraoperative ultrasound guidance
  • Microneurosurgical techniques
  • Tumor resection with motor and/or language mapping

Innovative Treatment Options for Brain Tumors

In 1993, the Mischer Neuroscience Institute acquired the region’s first Leksell Gamma Knife®, a stereotactic radiosurgery instrument that resolves brain tumors and other neurological disorders without a traditional “open” surgery. To date, our team has treated more than 3,500 patients using the next generation of this ground-breaking, minimally invasive tool called the Gamma Knife® Perfexion.

Other novel technologies available at the Brain Tumor Center include diffusion tensor imaging, which is an exciting new way to map major brain connection pathways in conjunction with functional MRI and MEG imaging tests.

The neurosurgical team has extensive experience and routinely employs the most innovative procedures to diagnose and treat brain tumors, including:

  • Motor and language mapping
  • Functional imaging techniques for localizing sensitive brain regions
  • Awake craniotomies under local anesthesia
  • Laser ablation
  • Placement of intracavitary chemotherapy for high-grade tumors
  • Minimally invasive surgical procedures such as neuroendoscopy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

Pediatric Brain Tumor Treatment

Brain tumors in children are often very different from those in adults, in cell type, presentation and responsiveness to treatment. Because a child’s brain is still developing, it is important for a child or adolescent to receive diagnosis and treatment from a physician team specializing in pediatric brain tumors. The Brain Tumor Center’s team works closely with the Children’s Memorial Hermann Neuroscience Center to ensure exceptional care for children with brain tumors.

Learn more about our Pediatric Brain Tumor Program »

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