Blood and urine tests may be done to determine if the tumor is producing hormones or other chemicals.
A biopsy or complete removal of the tumor may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment involves surgery to remove the tumor (if it is causing symptoms).
Most ganglioneuromas are noncancerous. The expected outcome is usually good. A ganglioneuroma may, however, become cancerous and spread to other areas, or it may come back after removal.
If the tumor has been present for a long time and has pressed on the spinal cord or caused other symptoms, surgery to remove the tumor may not necessarily reverse the damage.
Compression of the spinal cord may result in loss of movement (paralysis), especially if the cause is not detected promptly.
Surgery to remove the tumor may also lead to complications in some cases. However, rare, persistent problems due to compression may occur even after the tumor is removed.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you or your child has symptoms that may be caused by this type of tumor.
Celli BR. Diseases of the diaphragm, chest wall, pleura, and mediastinum. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 100.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.