Brain Tumor Diagnosis and Imaging

hermelin diagnostics

Brain tumor diagnosis may be an involved process, given the complexity of brain cancer. Several brain tumor imaging or other tests may be necessary to get an accurate diagnosis. At Henry Ford, we have a team of specialized Neuro-pathologists, doctors specifically trained to interpret brain tumors. While brain tumor diagnosis and testing varies by individual, some common initial tests include:

  • Medical history: Your neurologist will ask you specific questions to gain insight into your overall personal and family health history.
  • Neurological exam: This series of tests is designed to assess vision, hearing, smell, touch, balance, reflexes, specific movements, and thinking and memory.
  • Brain tumor imaging: If the results of your medical history and neurological exam indicate a possible brain tumor, one or more brain tumor imaging tests -- such as an MRI or CT scan -- may be ordered.
  • Tests for other tumors: A brain tumor may form in the brain or originate in another part of the body and metastasize (spread) to the brain. Additional tests may be necessary to determine the origin of the original tumor, which affects treatment.

If you are seeking a second opinion at the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center, we will review these initial test results and may order additional specialized tests, including a tumor biopsy (tissue sample).

The latest brain tumor diagnosis tools

A correct diagnosis is essential for determining the most appropriate brain tumor treatment. In addition to reviewing any initial brain tumor imaging studies or other tests, we may order one or more of the following specialized tests:

  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG): An advanced neuroimaging technique for mapping brain activity through magnetic fields -- Henry Ford has the only available MEG system in Michigan
  • Electroencephalography (EEG): Measures the electrical activity of the brain
  • 3-D MR spectroscopy: Measures biochemical changes in the brain
    • High-field functional MRI: Provides a detailed picture of brain anatomy and regional activity
  • Genetic tumor typing: Our center is one of few in the country that can analyze a tumor’s DNA and use this information to tailor specific treatments.
  • Neuropsychological assessments: To understand how the cognitive processes and behaviors may be affected by your tumor
  • Speech-language evaluations: Including Wada studies, which map memory and speech
  • Intraoperative MRI (iMRI)Creates a high-resolution imagery of the brain’s anatomy during surgery

After your brain tumor diagnosis

Following your brain tumor diagnosis, our multidisciplinary tumor board will review your case. This group of experts from multiple medical specialties meets to analyze the results from any brain tumor imaging or other tests, and develop a personalized treatment plan based on the genetic make-up of your tumor that meets the needs of you and your family. This treatment plan may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, specialized metastatic treatment or clinical trials.

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Clinical Trials

Cancer Institute