Mary Tyler Moore facing brain surgery for meningioma: What's that?

Mary Tyler Moore in New York City on July 11, 2009.
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mary tyler moore
Mary Tyler Moore in New York City on July 11, 2009.
Getty Images

(CBS) Mary Tyler Moore is facing brain surgery. The 74-year-old actress went in for an elective procedure to remove a meningioma. That's a tumor of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.

"At the recommendation of her neurologist, who has been monitoring this for years, and a neurosurgeon, Mary decided to proceed with this fairly routine procedure," Moore's representative told People magazine.

Meningiomas account for about 25 percent of primary brain tumors (those that originiate in the brain) and are fairly common in older women, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Like most meninginomas, Moore's was said to be slow-growing and benign.

There was no word on where or when the surgery will be done - or the type of surgery she'll have. Surgeons use different techniques based upon the tumor's location. In minimally invasive surgery, meningiomas can be removed through the nose or below the eyebrow, according to the website of St. John's Health Center.

In recent years, Moore has been associated with diabetes - both as someone who has the disease and as an outspoken advocate for treatment research. But she is probably best known for her TV roles. In the 60s, she played a perky suburban housewife in "The Dick Van Dyke Show." In "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," which aired during the 70s, she starred as a neurotic working woman.

The National Brain Cancer Society has more on meningiomas