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Pineal Tumor

Pineal Tumor Overview

Pineal tumors arise in the region of the pineal gland. This gland is a small structure deep within the brain. These tumors represent about 1% of all brain tumors but account for 3% to 8% of the intracranial tumors that occur in children. At least 17 different types of tumors may occur in this region, and many are benign.

The three most common types of pineal region tumors are:

  • gliomas,
  • germ cell tumors, and
  • pineal cell tumors.

Pineal Tumor Causes

As with most brain tumors, the cause of pineal tumors is largely unknown. Research is underway to discover the possible causes.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2014

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before a Biopsy

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

A biopsy is a sample of tissue removed by your doctor to make a precise diagnosis. Biopsy procedures can range from a simple sampling of skin under local anesthesiato surgical opening of the chestwall to remove a portion of lung tissue. Biopsies may also be obtained during diagnostic procedures such as endoscopy, colonoscopy, bronchoscopy, and others. Sometimes doctors perform biopsies using a CAT scan or other radiological imaging techniques to help identify the exact area to be sampled and avoid injury to surrounding organs. There are several types of biopsies.

Excisional biopsy. If your doctor finds an area of interest or a suspicious finding (for example, an enlarged nevus, or mole), often an excisional biopsy is performed to remove the area in question in its entirety during the biopsy.

Incisional biopsy. An incisional biopsy refers to removal of only a portion of the area of interest (for example, sampling of a small fragment of tissue from a larger breast lump).

Fine needle biopsy. A fine needle biopsy is used to remove cells or fluid by suctioning through a long, thin needle.

Core needle biopsy. During a core needle biopsy, the doctor inserts a special needle through a skin incision that removes a very thin, cylindrical piece of tissue.

The following questions can help guide your discussions with your doctor concerning a biopsy (print these and take them with you to your doctor's visit):

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Pineal Tumors »

The pineal gland develops during the second month of gestation as a diverticulum in the diencephalic roof of the third ventricle.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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