Pediatric Ependymoma

Pediatric Ependymoma



Pediatric ependymomas are tumors that can form in a child’s brain or spine.

Expanded overview

Ependymomas can form anywhere in the fluid-filled pathways in the brain or spinal cord. About five percent of pediatric brain tumors are ependymomas. These types of tumors typically don’t grow into normal brain tissue, resulting in a greater chance of success in removing the tumor surgically.


Once the ependymoma forms, the areas of the brain it could affect include the following:

  • Brain stem – controls breathing, heart rate, and the nerves and muscles used in seeing, hearing, walking, talking and eating.
  • Cerebellum – controls movement, balance and posture.
  • Cerebrum – controls voluntary movement, as well as thinking, learning, problem solving, speech, emotions, reading and writing.
  • Spinal cord – carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

Most ependymomas affect the brain stem and cerebellum.


The symptoms of ependymomas are not the same in every child, but could include:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Seizures
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain or stiffness in the neck
  • Loss of balance or trouble walking
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Blurry vision
  • Back pain
  • Changes in bowel function
  • Trouble urinating
  • Confusion or irritability

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