Tools that may be used to diagnose brain tumors and monitor your progress and treatment include
- MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING (MRI)
- Like CT scans, MRIs also use computer graphics to create a brain image. However, a MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves (not X-rays) to generate detailed pictures of the brain tissue. The patient lies on a table that slides into the tunnel-shaped scanner, where the patient’s head is surrounded by a magnetic field. Two-dimensional or three-dimensional pictures of the brain can be created by MRIs. Unlike CT scans, MRIs do not use radiation.
- COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) SCAN
- A CT scan combines high-speed X-ray technology with a computer. For this imaging method, the patient lies on a table that slides into the CT machine opening. The head is circled with the CT scanner, which allows the X- rays to be taken from many directions. Thousands of these X-ray images are combined in the computer which displays the information into a picture, a cross-sectional image of the brain.
- POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY (PET) SCAN
- A PET scan is a procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used.
- A small piece of tumor tissue is removed by a surgeon through a procedure known as a biopsy. The biopsy sample is then sent to a lab for review by a pathologist, a specialist that interprets and diagnoses disease changes in tissues and body fluids. Sometimes, a biopsy is done after surgical removal of the tumor, while in other instances the biopsy is a separate procedure. The goal of a biopsy is to help to establish a specific diagnosis.