Brain Tumor Diagnosis

Diagnosing brain tumors involves a multidisciplinary approach, which means a team of specialists will examine and evaluate you to determine the best treatment. 

At Fletcher Allen in Burlington, Vermont, our neurological imaging specialists – called neuroradiologists – work closely with your care team. They determine the best imaging studies and diagnostic tests to assess your condition. These professionals are specially trained in conducting brain-imaging studies to detect the presence of a tumor.

Patients have access to some of the highest levels of expertise and technology anywhere in the country. Our goal is to ensure a high level of accuracy in screening and diagnosis for you and your family.

Diagnosis of Brain Tumors at Fletcher Allen

Our neuroradiologists use a wide range of imaging technologies including diagnostic X-ray, CT or CAT scans, MRI, nuclear medicine and ultrasound. You can expect the following diagnostic test:

Neurological Exam

A neurologist will conduct a comprehensive physical exam, which could include assessing your hearing, vision, balance and other factors.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce cross-sectional images of your body. Fletcher Allen offers the latest technology in Open MRI, offering a comfortable option for patients who prefer an open setting.

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

This test provides comprehensive images of the brain with a high degree of accuracy. CT scans produce detailed, two-dimensional images of the brain. Fletcher Allen offers some of the most advanced CT technology available today, including a 64-slice CT scanner, capable of imaging organs in the body within seconds.

Brain Tumor Biopsy

Biopsies help identify the type of tumor. If a tumor is identified with MRI or CT imaging, a biopsy, or tissue sample, may be needed to make a conclusive diagnosis. 

This procedure involves inserting a needle into the brain to remove tissue, which is then analyzed under a microscope. Sometimes, your neurosurgeon will recommend removing the brain tumor and doing the biopsy at that time.  

Our neurosurgeons use a stereotactic needle biopsy for tumors that are hard to reach or in sensitive areas. This procedure involves sophisticated computerized mapping, which helps pinpoint the tumor.

Brain Tumors: Team of Specialists

At Fletcher Allen, we offer comprehensive treatment and therapies for patients with brain tumors, using the latest technologists and minimally invasive techniques. Our multidisciplinary approach brings together specialists from different disciplines – including neurology, oncology, neurosurgery and radiology – to provide the best treatment for your condition. Together, we annually treat 850 patients a year.

At Fletcher Allen, you have access to highly specialized care provided by these “subspecialists.” Subspecialists are physicians with advanced training and expertise in a particular area, and are typically found only at a tertiary, or advanced level care centers like Fletcher Allen – the only center of this kind in Vermont.

The subspecialists involved in treatment of brain tumors at Fletcher Allen are:


  • Oncologists – Medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
  • Radiation Oncologists – Medical doctors with special training in the use of radiation therapy to treat cancer
  • Neurologists -- Physicians with advanced training in neurology, and treating disorders of the brain and nervous system
  • Neurosurgeons – Neurosurgeons treat diseases and conditions affecting the brain, spine and spinal cord and the peripheral nerves – the nerves located outside the brain and spinal cord. They provide non-surgical and surgical therapies. These surgeons have advanced, fellowship-level training in operating on the brain and nervous system. 
  • Neuroradiologists – Radiologists, or imaging specialists, with advanced training in neurology and imaging the brain. They prescribe and conduct tests to assess patients’ neurological symptoms.

Learn about Brain Tumor Treatments, find a Fletcher Allen phsycian or call us at 877-540-HOPE (4673).