Conditions and Treatments

Under the direction of Keith L. Black, MD, Cedars-Sinai neurosurgeons and neuro-oncologists treat the full range of tumors affecting the brain and spinal cord. We offer both children and adults medical, surgical and neuro-oncologic care for:

Brain Tumors

Benign and Cranial (Skull) Base Tumors

Malignant Tumors

Pituitary Tumors and Other Neuroendocrine Tumors

Common Brain Tumors

Choroid Plexus Papilloma

This is a rare, benign tumor most common in children under the age of 12. Choroid plexus papillomas grow slowly and eventually block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid causing hydrocephalus and increased intracranial pressure. This type of tumor is most effectively treated with surgery. One half of these patients will not require a ventriculoperitoneal shunt after the tumor has been removed (which resolves the hydrocephalus in half of the patients). Choroid plexus carcinoma is a rare and malignant form of this tumor that is not curable with surgery alone, but is treated with additional therapy including chemotherapy and sometimes radiationtherapy.


About half of all primary brain tumors are gliomas and usually occur in the lobes of the upper part of the brain. But they can also grow in other areas, especially near the optic nerve, the brain stem, and, particularly in children, the cerebellum. Gliomas are classified into several groups. These include low grade astrocytomas, anaplastic astrocytomas, and glioblastoma multiforme.


The rarest form of glioma, these tumors grow relatively slowly and may occur in the brain or spinal cord. Usually they are treated with surgery.

Pineal Tumors

Tumors in the region of the pineal gland account for about 1% of brain tumors. Many different types of tumor with completely different clinical and pathological characteristics occur in this region. The most common type of tumor occuring in this region is called a germinoma. Physicians usually will begin treatment with surgery or perform a biopsy to confirm the tumor type. Depending on the particular tumor, your physician may recommend therapy that includes, radiation, chemotherapy or both.

Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors

Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs) usually affect children and young adults. Their name reflects the belief, held by many scientists, that these tumors develop from primitive cells left over from the nervous system's early development. PNETs are usually malignant, grow rapidly and can spread easily within the brain and spinal cord. In rare cases, they may spread outside the central nervous system.

Because their malignant cells often infiltrate into the brain and have a tendency to recur, PNETs are resected as completely as is safe with surgery and then treated with radiation and chemotherapy.

Vascular Tumors

These rare, noncancerous tumors arise from the blood vessels of the brain and the spinal cord. The most common vascular tumor is the hemangioblastoma, often linked in a small number of people to a genetic disorder called von Hippel-Lindau disease. Hemangioblastomas do not usually spread, and surgery provides the cure. A screening is recommended to rule out renal cancer, adrenal tumors and retinal abnormalities.

Brain Cyst

A brain cyst will usually compress and displace adjacent brain tissue. The degree of compression and displacement depends on the location and size of the cyst, which, in turn, determines the type and severity of symptoms. For example, cysts in "eloquent areas", such as the motor, somatosensory or visual cortex will be more prone to cause symptoms than those located, for instance, in the frontal cortex. A MRI can help diagnose a cyst, but usually a biopsy is required to be certain, in which case the cyst will often be removed. If a cyst is left in place, periodic MRIs may be required to monitor it.

Spinal Tumors

Pediatric Tumors

Many of the procedures done on both children and adults at the Department of Neurosurgery can be done using minimally invasive neurosurgery techniques.

The department takes a patient-centered approach to care. Because no two individuals respond in the same way to treatment, our multidisciplinary team of specialists provides highly individualized diagnostic and treatment services. Care is delivered in a compassionate, family-involved environment where education and psychosocial support are top priorities. Our support staff has a single goal: excellent service.

A unique strength of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, its research arm, is the ability to translate research findings from the laboratory into clinical practice, giving patients direct and rapid access to the latest treatment alternatives. This is especially crucial for individuals with complex, neurosurgical conditions who may have limited treatment options.

For an appointment, a second opinion or more information, please call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771) or email us at