What is Brain Tumor Surgery?

In cases where the procedure can be done with minimal risk, surgery is the preferred and most readily used option for treating brain tumors and can often be paired with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.  Depending on a doctor’s recommendation, there are a variety of different types of brain tumor surgeries that may be appropriate for the patient’s specific needs.

BEFORE Brain Tumor Surgery PROCEDURE

When considering brain tumor surgery it is important that the patient consults their doctor and/or a cancer specialist (oncologist) to determine the correct treatment. Many considerations must be taken into account when deciding whether surgery is the optimum option. These include: The size of the tumor, whether it is benign or malignant, the area in which the tumor is located, and the patient’s age and general health. In preparation for the surgery, the patient must undergo brain imaging procedures, such as MRI, in order to determine the correct location for the surgery.

How it is performed

There are several different types of brain tumor surgeries. In each, the patient is sedated and anesthetic is applied to the surgical site. Because the brain has no pain receptors, no anesthetic is applied to the actual brain tissue. At some point of the surgery, the patient may be awake and must respond to questions to ensure that no other brain regions were negatively affected. The most commonly performed are as follows:

- Biopsy: Surgically removing a sample of brain tissue

- Craniotomy: Removing a piece of the skull to gain access to the brain tissue needing to be removed and then replacing the skull fragment

- Debulking: Reducing the size of the tumor through surgical means if the tumor cannot be entirely removed. This is often done to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiation therapy

- Resection (Complete removal): Surgically excising the tumor entirely

- Partial Removal: Removing only a portion of the tumor. Often done when the tumor is located in a surgically risky part of the brain

- Shunt: Rerouting excess fluids from the brain to another part of the body using some form of drainage

- Skull Base Surgery: A special type of surgery performed to remove a tumor located at the base of the skull

- Ommaya Reservoir: Surgically implanting a tube and container apparatus underneath the scalp to directly administer chemotherapy to the brain, remove excess cerebrospinal fluid to allow for detection of healthy cells, and to remove other unwanted fluid buildup without the need for invasive surgery.

- Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT): Small holes are drilled into the skull where targeted heat is administered to burn away unhealthy tissue. Is minimally invasive and is often used when tumors are difficult to access via more traditional means.

Recovery

Periodic mandatory follow-up visits with a neurologist to receive additional brain scans are necessary to check for tumor resurgence and to address any possible residual effects of the surgery.  Rehabilitation may include either home or outpatient therapy to help the patient regain skills. Overall recovery time depends on the type of brain tumor surgery the patient has undergone. Patients should speak to their doctor regarding pain management immediately after surgery.

Potential Risks

The typical risks of an invasive surgery applies to brain tumor surgery. These include infection, excessive bleeding, inflammation, and irritation. Risks specific to the brain tumor surgery can usually be attributed to damage to surrounding brain tissue and may include seizures, balance issues, memory problems, general weakness, stroke, coma, and possibly death. These risks can be addressed or avoided by the mandatory follow-up visits to a neurologist or health care professional of the patient’s choice.

Cost for Brain Tumor Surgery

India from $7,500

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