Diagnosing Brain Tumors

Diagnosing Brain Tumors

Many people who call The Ben & Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment have already been diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumor, but need further tests to determine the type of tumor they have.

You may have had a physical exam to check a number of key indicators, including reflexes, coordination and pressure on optic nerves. Your doctor or an emergency room doctor may have ordered a diagnostic imaging test, such as an MRI or a CT scan.

Depending on the size and location of the tumor, diagnostic imaging may provide enough information for a neurosurgeon to remove the tumor. If more information is needed, a brain biopsy is done.

On-site lab for testing biopsies

A brain biopsy involves getting a sample of the brain-tumor tissue for a pathologist to examine.  Biopsies can sometimes be performed by inserting a needle through a small hole. Other times, a small part of the skull is surgically removed to obtain a sample of the tumor tissue.

Tumor samples are taken immediately to the on-site laboratory at the Ivy Center, where they are examined by a neuropathologist. The neuropathologist determines whether a tumor is benign or malignant, and – if malignant – at what stage of brain cancer the tumor may be.


In the videos below our founding director, Dr. Greg Foltz,  discusses different types of brain tumors, including benign and malignant tumors, and how brain tumors are diagnosed.







If you are from out of town, and would like to have the Ivy Center review your test results, or for a second opinion, call us at:  

Contact Information

Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment
550 17th Avenue
Suite 540
Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: 206-320-2300
Fax: 206-320-8149
Map & Directions

Diagnosed with a Brain tumor?


The Ivy Center has a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and social workers who specialize in treating people with benign and malignant brain tumors.

Learn More

Need a second opinion?


Call 206-320-2300 to make an appointment now.


How you can help


Swedish is constantly working to ensure patients with debilitating neurological disorders have access to the best treatment options, the latest technology, and state-of-the-art facilities.

Learn More


Support Services


At the Ivy Center, patients and their families have access to a wide range of support services provided by the Integrative Clinical Social Worker.

Learn More