Michigan Head & Spine Institute, Author at Michigan Head & Spine Institute Blog

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Dr. Natalia Glisky
Natalia V. Glisky, M.D.
Interventional Pain Management

Migraines affect more than 10 percent of the world’s population, and migraine disease is considered to be one of the main causes of disability worldwide.

One study of people with migraine disease in the United States found that over half were unable to engage in day-to-day activities, including work or school, because of migraines.

Women are hit especially hard by migraines; migraine disease is 3 times more common in women than men, affecting around 1 in 5 American women.

Understanding migraines including how they’re different from other headaches and what can trigger them and why the triggers might change may help you manage them better.

Symptoms, Phases Set Migraines Apart

Migraine is produced by chemical activity in the brain, nerves and blood vessels surrounding the skull and muscles of the head and neck.

Migraine is different from other headaches because it comes as a cluster of symptoms, and usually occurs with the same triggers and symptoms every time, though triggers can change over time, especially with hormonal changes.

Classic migraine is also unique in that it typically occurs in four phases.

During prodrome (pre-migraine) phase, you might experience:

  • Sensitivity to light, sound and smells
  • Mood changes
  • Pain and/or stiffness in the neck
  • Yawning
  • Food cravings
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Aura phase, which doesn’t happen for everyone, is usually characterized by visual and sensory changes such as:

  • Seeing flashing lights and/or zigzag lines
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty thinking or writing clearly

Headache phase is characterized by:

  • Intense pain on one or both sides of the head

Postdrome phase is the post headache phase when symptoms generally include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Feeling unwell

Although not everyone with migraine disease goes through all four phases, the symptoms and phases an individual experiences tend to be the same every time. Recognizing this pattern helps people know they’re having a migraine.

Common Migraine Triggers

While not all migraines are triggered, some people find that certain factors tend to kick off a migraine for them. Common migraine triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Sleep disturbances, including a change in sleeping patterns such as sleeping late on the weekends
  • Hormone changes
  • Foods that contain a compound called tyramine (including fermented foods, certain aged cheeses, red wine, smoked foods and cured meats)
  • Changes in weather/humidity fluctuations
  • Dehydration
  • Altitude changes
  • Strong smells such as perfume
  • Medications

Another surprising (and surprisingly common) migraine trigger? Chewing gum. Up to 50 percent of people with migraine disease also have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, conditions affecting the jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments that can be aggravated by gum chewing.

It’s a good idea to pay attention to your personal triggers; if you’re able to identify and avoid them when possible, you may be able to lessen the number of migraines you experience.

Why Triggers May Change Over Time

Some people — especially women — may find that their migraine triggers change as they get older, or that they experience fewer or more migraines at certain times (such as during pregnancy or menopause). This is because hormone levels fluctuate throughout a woman’s life, and hormone changes can trigger a migraine.

Other things that might cause triggers to vary over time include nutrient deficiency (such as low vitamin D levels) and thyroid problems. But you shouldn’t assume that these things are triggering your migraines without talking to a healthcare provider.

When to See a Doctor

If you notice a change in the pattern of your headaches — particularly if they become more frequent and you have them more than three times per week — it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about an evaluation.

More concerning are headaches that occur during physical activity such as exercise or bending over, or if a headache is severe enough to wake you from sleep. If you’re awoken by a headache or suddenly develop a headache more painful than any you’ve had before, it’s an emergency and you should seek care immediately.

Other headache symptoms that necessitate emergency treatment:

  • Neck stiffness with fever and/or rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Neurological symptoms such as loss of balance, slurred speech or paralysis on one side of your body
  • Nausea and vomiting (if severe and you’ve never had it with a headache before)

In general, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to headaches, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor if you’re concerned.

 

If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for a condition of the brain, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Glisky or any of our MHSI experts, visit www.mhsi.com/appointments or call 248-784-3667.

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Dr. John Steele
John J. Steele, M.D., Ph.D.
Neurosurgeon

Knowing the signs and symptoms of a stroke, and what to do when you spot them, may save someone’s life. The acronym, BEFAST, can help.

Catching Stroke Quickly Increases Chances of Survival

In the last three decades, medicine has made huge strides in stroke management — but the window of treatment is very narrow.

A stroke can get very bad, very quickly, meaning you have a limited amount of time to respond if you hope to have a good outcome.

In most cases, stroke can be treated with either medical or surgical therapy. But stroke remains the fifth leading cause of death and the number one cause of loss of independence, which is why it’s so important that people know the signs and act quickly.

Because of this, experts created the acronym BEFAST to help people remember and recognize the most common stroke symptoms.

  • Balance problems, dizziness, and/or loss of coordination
  • Eye trouble, including blurred vision and difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes
  • Facial drooping or numbness on one side of the face
  • Arm weakness or numbness on one side
  • Speech difficulty, including stuttering and/or slurred speech
  • Time to call 911 if a person shows any of these symptoms, even if they go away

Even with an acronym to remind you of stroke symptoms, you might not recognize the signs right away. It may be helpful to focus on the physical signs; if someone is unable to speak, has a facial droop or can’t move one side of their body, or if their hand flops down when you raise it, there’s a good chance that person is having a stroke.

The Importance of Comprehensive Stroke Treatment

Once you’ve identified signs of a stroke using BEFAST, it’s time to get help.

When you call 911, request that the person be taken to a comprehensive stroke center to ensure the most accurate diagnosis and best possible treatment.

The most crucial step when it comes to diagnosing a stroke is getting an image of the brain with a CT or CAT scan to determine the cause and type of stroke. Ideally, imaging will be followed by a more comprehensive evaluation using the stroke scale developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This 42-point evaluation goes far beyond BEFAST, allowing healthcare providers to learn details about a stroke that help them determine how best to treat it.

Managing Expectations About Stroke Treatment and Recovery

How effectively a stroke can be treated, and how well a person recovers, depend largely on how early the stroke is diagnosed; the earlier the stroke is detected, the better the outcome is likely to be. When blood flow to the brain is blocked, which is what happens during a stroke, there’s going to be a certain amount of damage even after normal blood flow is restored.

This means stroke patients who have been successfully treated can still experience effects such as weakness on one side of the body or problems with speech, but often will recover to the point of independence. Recovery from a stroke usually takes between three and six months, but is highly dependent on the extent of the stroke.

Even better than catching a stroke early is not having one at all. Preventive measures such as maintaining a healthy weight and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check can go a long way in keeping your heart healthy and reducing your risk of stroke.

 

If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for a condition of the brain, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Steele or any of our MHSI experts, visit www.mhsi.com/appointments or call 248-784-3667.

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Dr. Fredrick Junn
Fredrick S. Junn, M.D.
Neurosurgeon

While most people have heard of Parkinson’s disease, which affects nearly 1 million people in the United States, fewer of us are aware of its symptoms, risk factors and treatment.

Knowing about Parkinson’s Disease, including early signs to watch for, can help you and your loved ones catch the disease earlier, understand its signs, and learn how to manage it.

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement, specifically how your brain communications with the rest of your body to create and execute movement.

With Parkinson’s disease, damage to nerve cells in the brain lead to reduced levels of dopamine, which plays a role in movement. When dopamine decreases, the brain and the body can’t communicate properly, leading to symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition, meaning it starts slowly and gets worse over time. It typically starts in one portion of the body, such as the arm or leg, and eventually crosses over to affect the other side of the body as well. Early- to mid-stage symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Tremors/shaking in fingers, thumb, hand or chin
  • Stiffness
  • Constipation
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Smaller handwriting (micrographia)
  • Speaking in a lower or softer voice (hypophonia)
  • Dizziness
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
  • Loss of smell
  • Stooped posture

Very recently, new research has identified two more early signs of Parkinson’s disease: hearing loss and epilepsy.

Since many of these symptoms could be caused by other health conditions, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider to potentially rule out Parkinson’s disease if you’re experiencing them.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, so do the symptoms. Some that may show up later in the course of the disease include:

  • Tremors and stiffness on both sides of the body
  • Walking problems
  • Loss of balance
  • Shuffling gait
  • Markedly stooped posture

Parkinson’s disease can also affect a person’s mental health, and is linked to conditions such as depression, anxiety and dementia.

Risk Factors for Parkinson’s Disease

Although scientists haven’t been able to pinpoint what causes Parkinson’s disease, they have identified some risk factors. These include:

  • Genetics
    When people develop Parkinson’s disease at a young age (in their 20s or 30s), the cause is often genetic.
  • Advanced age
    The average age of onset for Parkinson’s disease is around 60 years old.
  • Gender
    Parkinson’s disease is more common in men than women.
  • Environmental triggers
    Exposure to pesticides/herbicides, heavy metals and other toxic chemicals has been shown to increase the risk for developing Parkinson’s disease. A street drug called “synthetic heroin” is also associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Treatments and Management for Parkinson’s Disease

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but it can be managed and even slowed, depending how early the disease is diagnosed. Treating Parkinson’s disease typically involves increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. This can be done with medications, including some types of antidepressants; newer anti-Parkinsonian medications are designed to provide a steady level of dopamine so patients don’t experience the crash associated with earlier treatments.

In addition to medication, deep brain stimulation (DBS) can be helpful for managing Parkinson’s disease symptoms. DBS is a surgical procedure where electrodes are implanted that deliver tiny electrical impulses to the parts of the brain that control movement. A major advantage of DBS is that it levels off dopamine levels without the side effects associated with some Parkinson’s disease medications.

Keeping the body healthy and moving are also key to controlling Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and many people find physical therapy to be helpful for maintaining movement.

If you think you may be experiencing Parkinson’s disease symptoms, or if you have a family history of the disease, you may want to ask your healthcare provider for a neurological referral. A neurologist can provide a diagnosis and start you down the path of managing your Parkinson’s disease.

 

If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for a condition of the brain, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Junn or any of our MHSI experts, visit www.mhsi.com/appointments or call 248-784-3667.

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Dr. John Whapham
John Whapham, M.D., MS, FSNIS, FAAN
Neurosurgeon

Surgery has always been an option for certain types of intracranial cerebral aneurysms, but in recent years, minimally invasive procedures have greatly reduced both physical trauma as well as recovery times.

Cerebral aneurysms occur when part of a blood vessel wall weakens, allowing it to bulge, widen and potentially burst or rupture, which can be life-threatening.

Aneurysms can exist for years without detection. Because of this, there are often no symptoms until an aneurysm ruptures. Once that happens, symptoms may develop suddenly and violently, depending on the location of the aneurysm.

Usually, symptoms come on quickly and are unlike anything you might have experienced before. If you don’t often get headaches but suddenly experience an intense migraine, a ruptured brain aneurysm could be the culprit.

Call 911 and seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you know is having aneurysm signs and symptoms including:

  • Severe headache
  • worst headache of life
  • Stiffness or swelling in the neck
  • loss of consciousness
  • speech difficulty
  • focal motor or sensory symptoms weakness or numbness
  • Dizziness
  • Vision changes
  • Confusion
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shock (low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, clammy skin, decreased awareness)

Sometimes an unruptured aneurysm is found when performing unrelated diagnostic testing such as MRIs or CAT scans.

Minimally Invasive Aneurysm Surgery Saves Lives

Aneurysm treatment has greatly improved in the last 25 to 30 years. In the past, major surgery, such as open craniotomy, was commonplace. In this procedure, a small metal clip is placed across the base of the aneurysm bulge that seals off blood flow to the ballooned blood vessel.

However, modern advances have made this major procedure less common.

These days, minimally invasive procedures such as coiling and stenting are the norm. Both divert the flow of blood away from the aneurysm making it less likely to rupture and are performed without opening the skull.

  • Coiling, also called endovascular embolization, uses a catheter passed through the groin up into the artery containing the aneurysm where tiny platinum coils are released. The coils induce clotting of the aneurysm and that clotting prevents blood from entering the aneurysm.
  • Stenting is when a catheter is used to place a stent (a soft, flexible mesh tube) into the blood vessel where an aneurysm has formed. The stent prevents blood from entering the aneurysm. In time, new cells grow on the stent, sealing the aneurysm and healing the vessel.

These minimally invasive procedures allow for a much shorter recovery period, and it is possible to return to daily living as early as one day after hospital discharge.

In fact, some patients with an unruptured aneurysm check in at the hospital, undergo a procedure that is finished in a couple of hours, stay overnight for observation and are discharged the next morning with only a small bandage covering the spot in the groin or wrist where the needle access was made.

Quick Treatment Is Key

It’s crucial to contact first responders at the first sign of an intense, sudden headache since that may indicate a ruptured aneurysm.

If you are diagnosed with an unruptured aneurysm, call us right away to make an appointment.

Depending on the aneurysm’s size and location, you may require regular checkups from a physician trained in aneurysm treatment and surgery. A treatment plan, including lowering your blood pressure, quitting smoking and medical intervention, can help you reduce the risk of rupture.

 

If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for a condition of the brain, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Whapham or any of our MHSI experts, visit www.mhsi.com/appointments or call 248-784-3667.

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Dr. Richard D. Fessler
Richard D. Fessler , M.D. Neurosurgeon

In 2013 Dr. Richard Fessler predicted the use of telehealth would become the norm as technology was in place to create visits for patients via a smart phone. Fast forward to 2020, Dr. Fessler saw his prediction become reality. The pandemic of a lifetime gave the entire healthcare industry a push into telehealth. Insurance companies expanded coverage for this type of visit with a push from Center for Medicare Service or CMS to cover costs.

“At MHSI we were ready to offer our patients this option when COVID caused concerns about safety for our patients and staff.  With the insurance barrier removed, it brought reassurance we could deliver the telehealth option and patients didn’t have to be concerned about unnecessary out-of-pocket-costs,” said Dr. Fessler. “We are thankful that our patients accepted the technology and the new way we are able to provide care.”

For example, when Tony couldn’t take his back pain any longer, he met with Neurosurgeon Dr. Ratnesh Mehra virtually and had trust that his surgical experience would be equally the same and relieve his back pain. Dr. Mehra recalls the day they met online, “Tony was able to effectively communicate with me about his pain and what he was feeling. At that point we decided that surgery for Tony was the right course of treatment and I met Tony in pre-op in person for the first time.” Tony says, “One week after surgery I was walking…dancing.”

 

Watch how intense pain stopped Tony in his tracks!:

 

To schedule a telehealth appointment with an MHSI neurosurgeon, call 248-784-3667 or visit MHSI.us.

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Every year neurosurgeons advance the procedures performed to treat brain and spine conditions. Just a few short years ago minimally invasive surgery of any type was unheard of. Yet today, an incision of less than 2 inches allows a neurosurgeon to fix or replace a disc in the neck or spine.

Minimally invasive nasal endoscopy is yet another advancement to treat tumors of the brain. This approach allows the neurosurgeon to access the brain to remove a tumor without performing a craniotomy, which makes a “window” in the bone to allow access to the brain.

Dr. Jeffrey T. Jacob
Jeffrey T. Jacob, M.D. Neurosurgeon

Deciding between a craniotomy or using the nasal cavity to reach the brain, depends on what is best for the patient. “The goal is to be able to reach the tumor and remove all of it,” says Jeffrey Jacob, M.D. “Often, we are able to do that going through the nose with an endoscope, with a very small camera device.”

There are many types of brain tumors that can be treated with this approach. Brain tumors that are removed using the nasal endoscopic approach can be benign or malignant, and typically sit at the base of the skull or under the brain. This procedure removes the tumor and the blood supply to the tumor.

To perform a nasal endoscopy, Dr. Jacob partners with Adam Folbe, M.D., a rhinologist and endoscopic skull base surgeon at Michigan Sinus and Skull Base Center. Dr. Folbe goes through the nose and opens the window to the brain. He says, “There is no cutting of skin, muscle or fat resulting in no scars. Using this approach maximizes retrieval of the tumor with lesser disruption to the brain compared to the craniotomy approach.”

Patients who experience this approach have no signs of surgery on the outside of their body, because the nasal cavity is repaired with the patient’s own tissue, without stitches or sutures. During the post-surgical healing, patients are restricted from sneezing, blowing their nose, lifting and bending over for about three weeks.

Like any surgery, there can be side effects, like in Valerie’s case. Because of the location of her tumor, she lost her ability to smell. For Stephen, he experienced added restrictions as he waited for his vision to return to normal once the tumor was removed. Kevin didn’t experience difficulties after his surgery, but he did work hard to regain his strength and balance.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with a brain tumor, consider all of your options and seek a second opinion. Like Valerie, you might find an option you didn’t expect.

 

Watch Stephen’s brain tumor story below:

Watch how a large pituitary tumor interrupted Kevin’s life:

Watch Valerie’s full story below:

 

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Jacob or any of the neurosurgeons at MHSI, call 248-784-3667 or visit MHSI.us

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September marks another effort to raise awareness about Chiari malformation. Chiari malformation is a disease of the brain where brain tissue is pushed down into the spinal canal. It occurs when the base of the skull is abnormally small or misshapen, causing pressure on the brain which forces it downward. Chiari malformation may cause blockage in the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid, which may cause the normal fluid spaces in the brain to enlarge, also known as hydrocephalus.

It was estimated that the condition occurs in about one in every 1,000 births. However, the increased use of diagnostic imaging has shown that Chiari malformation may be much more common. Complicating this estimation is the fact that some children who are born with the condition may not show symptoms until adolescence or adulthood, if ever. It can also be hereditary, and often those with Chiari will recall a family member with the same symptoms. Family members such as siblings Ezra and Katelyn, and mother Tammy and daughter Sheena.

Watch Ezra and Katelyn’s journey with Chiari below:

Chiari Malformation Corrected for Mother Tina and Daughter Sheena:

Adults and children alike can go through life and from doctor to doctor, with severe symptoms and are not diagnosed until an aware physician recognizes the symptoms. Patients Tina, Lu Anna and Tyler each had a physician acknowledge their symptoms and refer them to the leading expert in Chiari decompression, Neurosurgeon Dr. Holly Gilmer.

To learn more about Chiari malformation, the symptoms, and treatments, click here.

For most patients, the diagnosis is elusive for many years until the patient meets a doctor who is aware of Chiari, and understands the symptoms presented can become more manageable with surgery. One of the goals of Conquer Chiari Walk Across America is to raise awareness and funds to support further research. At this event, patients, their families and friends, along with doctors join in to walk to raise funds every third and fourth Saturday in September.

Click the graphic below to download the flyer:

Conquer Chiari Walk Across America

 

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of Chiari malformation, call 248-784-3667 or visit MHSI.us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gilmer.

 


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Sacroiliac Joint Pain

 

Lower back pain is the most common type of pain as reported by half of all working Americans. It can develop gradually over time from stationary occupations (desk jobs, long distance driving, standing for extended periods) and pregnancy. It can also occur suddenly after suffering a traumatic event (a bad fall, auto accident, sports injury). Michigan Head & Spine Institute specializes in determining proper diagnoses and the neurosurgical treatments required to help patients with chronic back pain symptoms.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain
One frequently overlooked diagnosis for lower back pain is the sacroiliac joint. At the bottom of the spine, as part of the sacrum, the sacroiliac joint connects the sacrum to the hip bones (iliac) that make up the structure of the pelvis. Both sacroiliac joints help to provide stability while supporting the body. When this area becomes inflamed (known as sacroiliitis) the irritation can cause pain and discomfort. It is often misdiagnosed because many doctors are either not aware of the condition, or are not examining for it when back pain is described. Only after stabilizing this joint, called sacroiliac joint fusion (SI Joint Fusion), can relief from pain be achieved.

What is Sacroiliac Joint Fusion?
SI Joint Fusion is a minimally invasive outpatient surgical procedure. The neurosurgeon creates a small incision off to the side of the back, and using intraoperative navigation inserts two small bolts across the sacroiliac joint to help stabilize this joint. The surgery is performed in about 30 minutes and patients are able to go home a few hours later, usually with their pain greatly reduced.

Dave’s Lifetime of Lower Back Pain
Dave, a patient at MHSI, had experienced lower back pain since his childhood. Misdiagnosed by his doctors for decades, he continued to suffer into adulthood.

“My back problems started at 12 years old while playing football. Doctors then said there’s not a lot you can do except take aspirin and painkillers,” he remembered, “I dealt with that through high school while playing sports, and was kind of limited with what I could do.”

Years later, after an accident falling down some steps, Dave’s back condition became even more severe. Doctors prescribed physical therapy treatment and steroid shots, still he had no change in his excruciating symptoms.

“A friend of mine referred me to Michigan Head and Spine Institute, and specifically Dr. Fahim,” Dave, a MHSI patient.

Daniel Fahim, M.D., neurosurgeon, is a leading expert in the education and treatment of SI joint fusion:

“I remember Dave telling me he was having pain off to his left side,” Dr. Fahim said, “I examined him and looked over his imaging studies, and we finally uncovered something that had been missed for a long time. He had a problem with his sacroiliac joint, something that most doctors don’t think about, or know about.”

Dr. Fahim explained that many doctors will immediately look to the spine for sciatica, or disc herniations, causing compression on nerves. If they cannot determine the cause of the condition they may give up, or even worse, perform surgery on the back believing that’s the source of the symptoms.

“I’ve taken great pride in being able to identify that problem in many patients who have been sent to me from all over the state,” he said, “Finally, we’re able to uncover that it’s the sacroiliac joint, and that’s something we can fix if we can confirm that’s the cause of the pain.”

Before an SI joint dysfunction diagnosis could be determined, Dave was first given a steroid injection. When the injection only provided temporary relief from his pain, Dr. Fahim was able to conclude that SI joint fusion could be the solution Dave’s spent his life looking for.

“After my surgery, and I was feeling better, I was able to open my new business, Red Kettle Coffee Roasters in Port Huron, Michigan,“ he said proudly, “I was able to be on my feet long enough to do this. That was my concern, to be mobile and not get fatigued. I’m doing a lot of the physical labor I couldn’t do before.”

Watch Dave’s story below:

Thanks to Dr. Fahim, and MHSI, Dave can now spend hours standing, lifting and moving freely while running his new coffee shop.

In addition to Dr. Fahim and Dr. Mehra, many of the MHSI neurosurgeons perform SI Joint Fusion. If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for any conditions related to the spine and back, schedule an appointment online or contact MHSI at 248-784-3667.

To learn more about spine conditions, click here to see other patient videos and how MHSI’s expertise can make a difference.


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Medical illustration of brain tumor

 

It doesn’t get much more serious than being given the diagnosis that you have a brain tumor. Though brain cancer is rare and may be a life-threatening situation when detected, many forms of tumors can be successfully treated.

A brain tumor is a collection, or mass, of abnormal cells growing in, or next to the brain. But, what are the different types of brain tumors, and what are the symptoms to look out for?

Brain Tumor Symptoms
There are so many different types of brain tumors, and because each is so complex, brain tumors can cause different effects for each person. Physical problems and behavioral changes can occur throughout the body severely impacting one’s life. The symptoms will depend on the individual’s particular tumor, its location, and can result in:

  • Drowsiness
  • Personality changes
  • Confusion
  • Impulsiveness
  • Blurred vision
  • Balance problems
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

Types of Treatable Brain Tumors
Though there are many different types, a brain tumor is classified by where it was originally formed. If it originated in the brain, it’s called a primary tumor and can be either noncancerous (benign), or cancerous (malignant). A tumor that originates in another part of the body and travels to the brain is called a meta tumor, and they are always cancerous.

Metastatic Brain Tumors – Also known as secondary tumors, they originate outside of the brain in another part of the body and then spread to the brain.

Meningiomas – Originating in the meninges, these thin layers of protective tissues surround the brain and spinal cord. Meningiomas usually grow slowly and most are not cancerous.

Pituitary Tumors – Found just under the brain, the pea-sized pituitary gland makes hormones that affect many of the body’s functions. A pituitary tumor can cause it to release too much, or too little, of these hormones which can cause serious problems.

Glioblastoma Multiforme – These are the most challenging forms of brain tumors to treat. MHSI physicians have access to the most current technology to deal with this cancer including image-guided surgical treatments.

Schwannoma – The most common type of benign peripheral nerve tumor in adults and rarely cancerous. When schwannoma grows larger, it can make removal more difficult. This type of nerve tumor can occur in any part of the body, and at any age.

 

Keith’s Brain Tumor Story
Before Keith, a patient at Michigan Head and Spine Institute, was diagnosed with his brain tumor he was an accomplished musician hoping for a big break.

“I got my first guitar when I was 12. It’s what calms me. It’s where I can focus on one thing and the thousand thoughts going on in my head will go away.”

But, that was all about to change when he started experiencing unexplained health problems and physical ailments.

“The first symptoms I had were the nausea, dizziness and headaches,” he said, “It got to the point where I couldn’t eat. The only thing that was staying down was water.”

Knowing something was wrong with his health, he went to an emergency room hoping it was just an ear infection. After undergoing some tests, his ER doctor came back with unsettling information.

“A brain tumor was not on my list.” – Keith, a patient at MHSI

Diagnosed with a sporadic case of hemangioblastoma, a benign tumor, Keith was seen by Dr. Daniel B. Michael, M.D., Ph.D., Neurosurgeon with Michigan Head and Spine Institute, trusted experts for treatment and diagnosis of tumors, diseases and other conditions of the brain.

“I noticed he was having trouble using his right hand and, in addition to his usual employment, he’s also a guitarist,” Dr. Michael explained, “That resonated with me. I play bass guitar, so I knew how important it is to be able to use both hands.”

After reviewing his CT scan, Dr. Michael confirmed Keith had a large mass at the back part of the head in the region of the cerebellum. This part of the brain also contributes to coordination.

“I just wanted it to stop hurting, to stop feeling sick,” Keith recalled.

While being prepped for surgery he also remembered the last thing he told the anesthesiologist, “I said, ‘I’m a musician.’ When I came back out, I still wanted to be a musician.”

Keith’s surgery was successful. He then underwent a second nonsurgical procedure called Gamma knife treatment to remove the last bit of his tumor.

“When I woke up after the surgery, I knew it was fixed. The pain I was having before was gone,” he said relieved, “I like the way Dr. Michael had a very confident way about himself.”

As for Keith’s guitar playing and music career after his surgery at MHSI:

“I’ve been in a few bands, had a little stardom,” he updated, “I’ve met a lot of people in the industry since the surgery that say they’re going to help me, so we’ll see what happens.”

To learn more about conditions of the brain and brain tumor procedures, please visit our MHSI Patient Education page at: Conditions of the Brain.

Watch Keith’s full story below:

 

If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for a condition of the brain, or are seeking a second opinion on an existing diagnosis, schedule an appointment online or contact MHSI at 248-784-3667.

To view more information about MHSI’s neurosurgeons, visit: https://www.mhsi.com/doctors/neurosurgery-physicians/. For more information about MHSI’s  neurologists, visit: https://www.mhsi.com/doctors/neurologists/