Symptoms and Signs of Ependymoma

The symptoms and signs of ependymoma depend on the grade of the tumor and where it is located. Any tumor that blocks the flow of cerebral spinal fluid can cause symptoms. Symptoms may be sudden or may be noticed slowly and get worse over time.

An ependymoma found in the brain may lead to increased intracranial pressure, which can cause the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Eye problems, such as double or blurry vision, or uncontrolled eye movements
  • Headache or feeling of pressure in the head
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures

Ependymoma tumors in the spinal cord may expand gradually over a prolonged period. This slow progression may eventually compress the spine and lead to symptoms, which vary depending on the size and exact location of the spinal tumor. Pain may be the first symptom and can be followed, even years later, by other noticeable changes. Symptoms include:

  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Difficulty walking
  • Neck stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Paralysis
  • Pins-and-needles feeling
  • Weakness in the arms, legs, or trunk

An ependymoma can lead to a syringomyelia, which is a fluid-filled cyst in the spinal cord.

Our Care Team

  • Chair and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief
  • Margaret and Robert J. Hariri, MD ’87, PhD ’87 Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Vice Provost of Business Affairs and Integration
Phone: 212-746-4684
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist
  • Professor, Neurological Surgery
  • Director, Brain Metastases Program
  • Co-director, William Rhodes and Louise Tilzer-Rhodes Center for Glioblastoma
Phone: 212-746-1996 (Manhattan) / 718-780-3070 (Brooklyn)
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Leon Levy Research Fellow
  • Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute
Phone: 646-962-3389
  • Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery
Phone: 718-670-1837
  • Director, Neurosurgical Radiosurgery
  • Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2438
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
  • Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
  • Co-director, Weill Cornell Medicine CSF Leak Program
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Vice Chair for Clinical Research
  • David and Ursel Barnes Professor of Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery
  • Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Otolaryngology
  • Director, Center for Epilepsy and Pituitary Surgery
  • Co-Director, Surgical Neuro-oncology
Phone: 212-746-5620

Reviewed by: Rohan Ramakrishna, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: December 2020

Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787