One neurologist's "fairly large"

... is another neurologist's "fairly small."

Saw the first neurosurgeon this morning. I live in a small town, and the only neurosurgeons we have are those that deal with certain cranial tumors and spine surgery. I have a VERY bad neck (C5 and C6, plus the disks below each). The neurologist who diagnosed my aneurysm also diagnosed my neck/nerve problem, so he referred me first to one of the local surgeons who specializes in necks, who was then asked to refer me on to a neurosurgeon for the aneurysm.

The neurosurgeon looked at my MRAs and told me that the aneurysm is actually "fairly small": 3mm. He is referring me on to Swedish Hospital in Seattle for a consultation with one of the cerebrovascular neurosurgeons there, but his take on it is that they'll probably want to "watch and wait" for now, and check it in six months or so.

He's far more concerned with the meningioma that has more than doubled in size in 2 yrs (it's now about 3/4 the size of a golf-ball), and is fairly adamant that it needs to be removed within the next year. As he put it, "it's growing faster than originally anticipated, and you're not getting any younger," and it's big enough that it could start causing seizures. The surgery will be much more difficult if it gets too much bigger, and of course it will be more difficult as I get older. And it COULD be causing some of the symptoms I've been experiencing.

So, at present, I'm facing neck surgery (May or June next year - I want to wait until I'm through with my concerts in the spring, including singing in a performance of the Verdi "Requiem" in April!), as well as surgery to remove a "fairly large" meningioma.

And the aneurysm has suddenly dropped lower on the list of priorities.

Life does have some interesting turns sometimes.


Bellingham, WA


According to most neurosurgeons 3mm is considered a small annie. I know i have a 2mm that is on watch and wait and my NS told me that he wont even consider surgery until and unless it becomes at least 5mm and then it will be discussed.

As far as your meningioma (I have no idea what that is maybe you can explain for those of us who have no clue) If it has doubled in size maybe it is time to have "it" taken care of, especially if they think it could be causing someof your problems.

I will keep you in my prayers and hope that you can get the right information and make the right decisions.

Best wishes,


Hi Lana,
And here I thought I had alot going on! My mom & sister are on the wait and watch do to their sizes. Prayers it does not grow! I too don’t know what meningioma is…
Hang in there!


Glad your going to Swedish.. They took great care of me.. Dr. Newell is the best.. He has fixed two others from this site besides me and all three of us are doing great..

Keep us posted..


A meningioma is a benign usually slow-growing tumor with its base in the meninges (one of the three protective layers surrounding the brain), that protrudes "into" the brain. They don't cause problems until they get big enough to put pressure on the brain, when they can cause symptoms like seizures, vision problems, etc. They're also usually very well contained -- not "spider" like or anything. Mine looks like a slightly flattened small golf ball "stuck" to the inside of the skull.

Mine was first discovered during a MRI done in 2009. My endocrinologist was looking for a pituitary adenoma (which I also have - a benign non-functioning "micro"-tumor attached to the pituitary gland), and the meningioma showed up. It was small then, and causing no symptoms, so nothing was done. I didn't even know I had it until this fall.

They usually grow very slowly. For some reason, mine is percolating along much faster than they usually see, and there's some danger of seizures if it gets much bigger. It grew from 1.1 cm x 2.2 cm in 2009 to 2.4 cm x 3.9 cm in the MRA done a couple of weeks ago.

There are several ways to deal with it. Cranial surgery is usually the answer for those that are in the front parts of the brain. For those that are located in harder-to-reach areas, there is radiation in a couple of varieties. Mine is in the left front, so surgery is the recommended treatment.

That's all I know so far -- I'm still in a bit of shock about all this. It's been an emotional roller coaster the past week or so. First the news about the aneurysm and all the stuff about that, and then learning that it's less of a threat, but there's now something new to worry about. This is going to sound crazy, but I'm MORE PO'd over the fact that I'll have to have my head shaved for the meningioma surgery. I have hip-length curly/wavy hair that hasn't been cut short in over 20 yrs. I trim it a couple of times a year, but other than that, it has been at least shoulder-length since forever. (My profile picture was taken in 2006, when it was shorter than it is now ... )


Bellingham, WA

Hi, Linda --

That's the same thing my neurosurgeon said today, too: they won't consider surgery until the aneurysm is at least 5mm.

I'll be scheduling the neck surgery first, as it will likely resolve some balance issues and left-side weakness. They don't want me going through and recovering from brain surgery while I'm still having dizziness issues.

I'm MUCH relieved re: the aneurysm situation. I know from reading here and elsewhere that the chance of rupture for a 3 mm annie is pretty small. Watch and wait seems like the most practical approach.

Thanks for the prayers, Linda. Every little bit helps. :-)


Bellingham, WA

Princess --

Oh, that's good info to know! I just checked, and Dr. Newell is covered under my insurance. I also looked at his bio on the Swedish website, and he ALSO does cranial tumor surgery. Maybe he can be my "second opinion" for the meningioma situation. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Gotta get the referral first, and I have no idea WHO at Swedish they'll "pick" for the referral.



Bellingham, WA

3-5 mm is fairly small for an aneurysm. 6-10 is considered large, 11-16 is considered very large and over that is considered giant, at least per my sons doctors at WV University Hospitals. My 9 year old son had an annie that was 26mm on left main cart artery, above the eye but below the brain. 7 titanium clips in his head and it is all gone, hopefully. We go back to WVU Hospital next week for a CT Angiogram to see if it is still holding. Crossing our fingers that it is.

Just wanted to let you know: Finally got the referral to Swedish, and it's for Dr. Newell!! I'm thrilled! They wanted to get me in next Monday, but I'll be on my way to St. Louis for the holidays, so I'm now scheduled for January 16.

I also got the CD containing the MRAs done on 11/11, so I'll be able to bring those with me to the appt. My neurologist here in Bellingham says I MUST carry this stuff with me when I travel "just in case." I transferred everything onto a small thumb drive that I can carry on my keychain, so I'm good to go. I *also* was able to find and download the software for my Mac to read the stuff on the CD, so I've been having fun exploring my brain, making screen snaps, and posting them on facebook. LOL!!

:-)...Yeah! Good luck- have a Merry Christmas.....