Symptoms & Signs
Craniopharyngioma causes symptoms in three different ways:
- by increasing the pressure on the brain (intracranial pressure)
- by disrupting the function of the pituitary gland
- by damaging the optic nerve
Increased pressure on the brain causes headache, nausea, vomiting (especially in the morning), and difficulty with balance.
Damage to the pituitary gland causes hormone imbalances that can lead to excessive thirst and urination (diabetes insipidus) and stunted growth. When the optic nerve is damaged by the tumor, vision problems develop. These defects are often permanent, and may be worse after surgery to remove the tumor.
Most patients have at least some visual defects and evidence of decreased hormone production at the time of diagnosis.
Diagnosis & Tests
- CT scan and/or MRI scan of the brain
- A thorough neurological examination
- Endocrine hormone evaluations to look for any imbalances
Review Date : 9/20/2008
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.