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How is pseudotumor cerebri diagnosed?

Diagnosis of pseudotumor cerebri is generally based on symptoms and an examination. An examination of the visual field is done, and an examination of the optic nerve with an ophthalmoscope may reveal swelling or bleeding. To measure the intracranial pressure, a lumbar puncture is performed. An MRI or CT scan is performed in order to view the brain and eliminate other causes.Diagnosis of pseudotumor cerebri may involve several steps. First, a physical exam is done. This may include checking the eyes for swelling and the head for increased. To measure the intracranial pressure, a lumbar puncture is performed. An MRI or CT scan is performed in order to view the brain and eliminate other causes.

Your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) will carefully measure your vision, check the light reaction of your pupils, examine the back of your eye and may evaluate your field of vision. Because other conditions may produce similar symptoms to pseudotumor cerebri, an MRI scan is necessary for accurate diagnosis. A spinal tap is also necessary to check for elevated CSF and to make sure there are no other CSF abnormalities.

Steven A. Meyers, MD
Diagnostic Radiology

Pseudotumor cerebri is usually diagnosed based on a history of headache associated with signf of increased intracranial pressure. The most common finding on examination is swelling of the nerve behind the eye which can be seen when your doctor carefully examines the eyes. Since other conditions can cause similar finginds, imaging of the brain is usually necessary. The pressure inside the head can be easily measured by performing a spinal tap. This involves inserting a needle in the lower back using local anesthesia.

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