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Brain Stem Glioma

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Glial cells are support cells that line your nerves in your brain and spinal cord. If a tumor develops in the glial cells in the brain stem (the lowest part of the brain that is connected to the spinal cord), it is called brain stem glioma.

There are two types of brain stem gliomas, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) that grows quickly and focal glioma that grows slowly. They can both cause symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Personality or behavior changes
  • Sleepiness
  • Trouble learning
  • Trouble walking or maintaining balance
  • Vision problems
  • Vomiting

At the University of Miami Brain Tumor Initiative we provide advanced treatment options through specialized pediatric neurosurgery and clinical trials. Our dedicated experts conduct research to help discover new treatments for aggressive brain tumors.

Why Choose UHealth?

Groundbreaking brain tumor treatment. Experts from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and UHealth make up one of the largest and most complete teams for brain tumor treatment in the United States. Through multi-disciplinary cooperation, our team employs innovative procedures like awake craniotomies, Gamma Knife® radiosurgery, and many other techniques. We use the least invasive neurosurgical techniques on both adults and children, which reduces recovery time and makes a significant difference in your quality of life.

Dedicated brain tumor experts. Your care team consists of specialized physicians and researchers who are committed to brain tumor care. Your team may include neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, neuropathologists, and other physicians who focus solely on treating brain tumors. Their years of experience and expertise help you find the right treatment for you.

Innovative research that changes the future of brain tumor care. As the only academic medical center in the area, we are on the cutting edge of brain tumor treatment and research. As a patient at UHealth, you also have access to the innovative research and the latest in clinical trials. Our ongoing translational and clinical research has spawned promising treatments like the heat shock protein vaccine and targeted therapies designed for your specific type of brain tumor.

International leaders in brain tumor care. We play a vital role in the community, thanks to our groundbreaking research and patient care for people in Florida, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. We’re turning Miami into the healthcare capital of the Americas. We’re creating one of the premier brain tumor centers in the country.

Surgical expertise. We perform thousands of brain tumor surgeries every year and care for more brain tumors than any other health center in Florida. Our skilled neurosurgeons are consistently pioneering new treatments. From minimally invasive spine surgeries to awake craniotomies, we offer unique surgeries you cannot find anywhere else in the region.

Concierge service. Patients do not have to figure it all out alone at UHealth. Patients are assigned a concierge coordinator who is there for you and your family while you are in our care. They connect you with other providers you may need, walk you through the surgery process, and can answer any questions you or your family may have.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

Treatments

  • Surgery

    A pediatric neurosurgeon will try to remove as much of the tumor as possible during surgery. Surgery is typically only used for focal glioma.

  • Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy is used in children with DIPG glioma or in children with focal glioma when the entire tumor could not be removed. Radiation therapy uses precisely targeted beams of energy to destroy tumor cells.

  • Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy uses specialized drugs to destroy tumor cells. It may be used in both types of brain stem glioma.

  • Targeted Therapy

    Targeted therapies disable or destroy certain proteins in the tumor cells, preventing it from growing. Some targeted therapies for brain stem glioma may be used if your child cannot undergo surgery.

  • Clinical Trials

    At the Brain Tumor Initiative, we provide access to the latest experimental treatments through clinical trials. These treatments give your child additional treatment options if their tumor does not respond to other treatments.


Tests

  • Neurological Exam

    Your doctor may perform a neurological exam to test balance, vision, and other aspects of your child’s brain health. These tests can help determine if your child may have a brain tumor.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

    An MRI is an imaging scan of the brain that uses no radiation but creates a highly detailed image of your child’s brain.

  • Biopsy

    A neurosurgeon can remove cells from your brain metastases to study in a lab. Your surgeon may use a needle to remove cells or may remove cells during a surgery to remove the entire brain tumor.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care