Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)

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Surgery for DIPG

Surgical resection (removal of the tumor) is not part of the treatment for patients with DIPG, but some patients may need surgery in the following situations:

Biopsy
Most cases of DIPG are diagnosed based on the patient’s symptoms and MRI scans. In cases where the MRI is not typical, a neurosurgeon may perform a biopsy. A biopsy is the procedure to extract a small sample of the tumor to be examined by a pathologist. This can confirm the diagnosis, and the tissue may also be used for research to help find new treatments.

Relieving Hydrocephalus
A pontine tumor may block the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), leading to a buildup of pressure in the brain (hydrocephalus). About 10 percent of DIPG patients have hydrocephalus at the time of initial presentation. Some patients will develop hydrocephalus at a later stage. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is the preferred method for treating hydrocephalus in these patients since it avoids the risks associated with inserting a permanent shunt. If ETV is not possible, then placement of a shunt is the alternative. Shunts may sometimes need to be repositioned to continue to drain effectively, in a procedure called a shunt revision.

Find out more about our innovative
clinical trial for DIPG

At Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, our pediatric neurosurgeons are highly skilled in the most advanced procedures for treating rare brain tumors like DIPG. Our relationships with top hospitals, including NewYork-Presbyterian and Memorial Sloan-Kettering, allow our surgeons access to the very best facilities and specialists, as well as the most leading-edge research laboratories, to ensure that your child gets the very best treatment available. Use our online form to request an appointment for an evaluation or a second opinion.

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Reviewed by: Zhiping Zhou, Ph.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: November 2014