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Brain Lesions
(Lesions on the Brain)

Brain Lesions Facts

Patient Comments
  • Brain lesions (lesions on the brain) refers to any type of abnormal tissue in or on brain tissue.
  • Major types of brain lesions are traumatic, infectious, malignant, benign, vascular, genetic, immune, plaques, brain cell death or malfunction, and ionizing radiation. Other chemicals and toxins have been associated with brain lesions as well.
  • Brain lesions have many different causes that are related to the types listed above.
  • Risk factors for the development of brain lesions include any behaviors that increase the chances a person will suffer trauma to their head, exposure to certain infections, smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke, exposure to many types of chemicals and ionizing radiation, a poor diet and alcohol use. Genetic risk factors are unavoidable.
  • Signs and symptoms of most brain lesions are related to the type of lesion. However, some symptoms often found in patients with different types of brain lesions include headaches (recurrent or constant), nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, changes in mood, changes in personality, behavioral changes, cognitive decline, inability to concentrate, vision problems, hearing and balance problems, muscle stiffness, weakness, numbness or paralysis, change or loss of sense of smell, memory loss, confusion, seizures, and coma.
  • Seek prompt medical care if any of the above symptoms develop.
  • Diagnosis of brain lesions begin with the patient's medical and family history, their signs and symptoms, and the physical exam. Usually several blood tests are ordered and many patients will undergo a CT scan orMRI of the brain. Definitive diagnosis for some brain lesions is based on examination of biopsy tissue taken from the brain lesion.
  • Treatment of brain lesions depends on the brain lesion type, the patient's age, their overall health problems, and the decision to proceed with a treatment plan agreed on by both the patient and their medical treatment team. Depending on the brain lesion type, treatment may include antibiotics, brain surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. Other lesions have no effective treatment except for the use of medications that may reduce symptoms and impede the progression of the disease.
  • Complications of brain lesions may arise from the disease process itself or from the treatment modalities, and can range from minor complications (nausea and vomiting) to severe (symptoms become worse, seizures, coma, or even death).
  • Prognosis for brain lesions is highly variable depending on the type of lesion, the age and health condition of the patient, and how effective treatments are for the patient. The range of prognosis varies from good to poor, with the prognosis in some lesions declining as the patient's disease progressively worsens over time (usually years).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2014
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