For many years the only mechanism for observing gross pathologic features of CNS neoplasms was to examine brains extracted after death. However, advancements in imaging technology now allow providers to observe typical gross neuropathological findings in the brains of living patients. Some brain tumors have characteristic MRI findings, an example of which is a cyst with a mural nodule that enhances following administration of contrast agent. Pilocytic astrocytoma, pictured here in the posterior fossa of a child, classically presents as a cyst (red arrows) with an enhancing mural nodule (yellow arrow). Other neoplasms to consider in the imaging differential, which can be narrowed down by location and patient age, include entities such as hemangioblastoma (usually found in the cerebellum of adults) as well as PXA and ganglioglioma (usually found in the temporal lobe in children and young adults).
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