Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Physicians
Health Library
Back to Health Library   Print This Page Print    Email to a Friend Email

Central nervous system
Central nervous system


Definition:

Ganglioneuroma is a tumor of the peripheral nervous system.



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Ganglioneuromas are rare tumors that most frequently start in the autonomic nerve cells, which may be in any part of the body. The tumor are usually noncancerous (benign).

Ganglioneuromas usually occur in people ages 10 to 40. They grow slowly, and may release certain chemicals or hormones.

There are no known risk factors. However, the tumors may be associated with some genetic problems, such as neurofibromatosis type 1.



Symptoms:

A ganglioneuroma usually causes no symptoms, and is only discovered when being examined or treated for another condition.

Symptoms depend on the location of the tumor and the type of chemicals released.

If the tumor is in the chest area (mediastinum), symptoms may include:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Chest pain
  • Compression of the windpipe (trachea)

If the tumor is lower down in the abdomen in the area called the retroperitoneal space, symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating

If the tumor is near the spinal cord, it may cause:

  • Compression of the spinal cord, which leads to pain and loss of strength or feeling in the legs, the arms, or both
  • Spine deformity

These tumors may produce certain hormones, which can cause the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Enlarged clitoris (women)
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased body hair
  • Sweating


Signs and tests:

The best tools to identify a ganglioneuroma are:

Blood and urine tests may be done to determine if the tumor is producing hormones or other chemicals.

A biopsy or complete removal of the tumor may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.



Treatment:

Treatment involves surgery to remove the tumor (if it is causing symptoms).



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Most ganglioneuromas are noncancerous. The expected outcome is usually good. A ganglioneuroma may, however, become cancerous and spread to other areas, or it may come back after removal.



Complications:

If the tumor has been present for a long time and has pressed on the spinal cord or caused other symptoms, surgery to remove the tumor may not necessarily reverse the damage.

Compression of the spinal cord may result in loss of movement (paralysis), especially if the cause is not detected promptly.

Surgery to remove the tumor may also lead to complications in some cases.



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you or your child has symptoms that may be caused by this type of tumor.



Prevention:



References: Sovak MA, Aisner SC, Aisner J. Tumors of the Pleura and Mediastinum. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKenna WG, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa; Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008: chap 77.


Review Date: 9/22/2008
Reviewed By: Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Find What You Need

Events
Careers
Foundation
About Us
Contact
Directions
News
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Library

Support Services

Support Groups
Care-Van
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:

 

Address

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100