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What is Oligodendroglioma?

This rare tumor begins in either the brain or spinal cord from glial cells that produce a substance that surrounds and protects nerve cells. A biopsy will be important to determine the cell type, as oligodendroglioma can be either benign or cancerous. Most spread slowly and could spread to other parts of the central nervous system through cerebrospinal fluid. Surgery is usually the best treatment option.

Causes of Oligodendroglioma

The cause of these tumors is unknown. Radiation exposure and certain genetic changes have been linked to higher occurrences of oligodendrogliomas. People with family members with glioma have a higher chance of developing oligodendroglioma. Patients are typically diagnosed after age 45.

Symptoms of Oligodendroglioma

Seizures and headaches are the most common symptoms of oligodendroglioma. Patients may also experience weakness or difficulty in the part of the body that’s controlled by the nerve cells affected by the tumor. That could include language problems, behavioral changes, coordination issues, or memory difficulties. Nausea and vomiting are also symptoms.

Diagnosis of Oligodendroglioma

Your doctor may perform a physical exam, a neurological exam, and imaging scans, including an MRIs or CT scan. Your doctor may check you vision, hearing, balance, and coordination. A biopsy will be performed on the tumor to determine the cell type and to help guide treatment decisions.

Treatment of Oligodendroglioma

Some patients live without symptoms with these tumors. In most cases, your doctor will perform surgery to remove the tumor. Some patients may need multiple surgeries to remove the entire tumor and to ensure that it doesn’t return. If tumor cells remain, your doctor will order chemotherapy or radiation. These treatments could continue for some time and follow ups will be needed to monitor growth and to check for signs of new tumors.

What you can expect at UTHealth Neurosciences

UTHealth Neurosciences brings together a multidisciplinary team of board-certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeons, neurologists, researchers, and pain management specialists to help provide relief for even the most complex problems. Your team will share insights, leading to better treatment decisions and outcomes. You will receive expert care, excellent communication, and genuine compassion.

We first investigate nonsurgical treatment options, including medical management, pain management, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and watchful waiting. When surgery is needed, our neurosurgeons routinely employ innovative minimally invasive techniques. Throughout the treatment process, we will work closely with the doctor who referred you to ensure a smooth transition back to your regular care. While you are with us, you will receive expert care, excellent communication, and genuine compassion.

Contact Us

At UTHealth Houston Neurosciences, we offer patients access to specialized neurological care at clinics across the greater Houston area. To ask us a question, schedule an appointment, or learn more about us, please call (713) 486-8000, or click below to send us a message. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.