Surgery is one of the approaches used to tackle brain tumors. The term “surgery” may make you anxious and worried, but the procedure is safe and carried out by skilled neurosurgeons. However, it is essential to note that surgery is not recommended as a treatment for every brain tumor patient. Your doctor will first evaluate if you are physically and mentally fit for the procedure. Also, if the tumor is present in a vital location of the brain such as the brain stem then it may be challenging to operate.
Let’s understand the different aspects and types of brain tumor surgery.
What are the Goals of Brain Tumor Surgery?
A brain tumor surgery can be performed for the following purposes:
- Removing the entire tumor to cure it
- Removing a part of the tumor near the sensitive regions of the brain. This helps in providing relief from symptoms and also increases the effect of other treatments.
- Performing a biopsy for diagnosing a brain tumor
- To help in providing treatments like chemotherapy
- Drain the fluid that builds up in the brain as a result of conditions like hydrocephalus
The biggest challenge of brain tumor surgery lies in removing most of the tumor without causing any significant damage to the normal brain tissues. This requires experience, skills, and advanced technology. Thus, you should check the credentials of your neurosurgeon and the facilities at the hospital before undergoing brain tumor surgery so that you receive quality care.
Different Types of Brain Tumor Surgery
Due to advancements in science and technology, new techniques for performing brain tumor surgery have emerged. With innovative imaging techniques, the precise location of a tumor can be accurately identified. This has helped in improving patient outcomes.
Some of the different types of brain tumor surgery have been discussed below:
In craniotomy, a piece of the skull is removed to access the brain tumor, blood clots, and abnormal tissue. You will be given general anesthesia before the operation. Then, the neurosurgeon can operate on the tumor by using different tools such as a scalpel. After removing the tumor, the bone is put back by the surgeon and secured with small metal brackets. The skin is then stitched.
2. Neuroendoscopy/ Endoscopy Brain tumor surgery
Neuroendoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical approach in which an endoscope is used to access the brain tumor through the nose, mouth, or small holes in the skull. An endoscope has a camera and tiny forceps or scissors at its end. These assist with visualizing the surgical field on the monitor or eyepiece and then removing the tumor. Conditions like pituitary tumors, skull base tumors, and pineal region tumors can be treated with neuroendoscopy.
Neuroendocsopy leads to:
- Less pain
- Less scarring
- Faster recovery time
3. MRI-guided laser ablation
MRI-guided laser ablation is a less invasive procedure that uses lasers to target tumors and eliminate them. The surgery has been employed to successfully treat glioblastoma and other serious brain tumors that can be challenging to access with traditional open surgery. Additionally, the procedure is monitored in real-time with the help of an MRI. The process leads to lesser pain and faster recovery than a craniotomy.
4. Tubular retractor system
The neurosurgeon uses a tubular retractor to hold or move tissue so that he/ she can reach the surgical area. This is again a minimally invasive approach that allows the surgeon to move aside the sensitive tissues of the brain instead of cutting through them. Thus, minimizing the damage to normal tissues. A tubular retractor is particularly helpful when the tumor is located deeply in the brain.
5. Transsphenoidal surgery
Transsphenoidal surgery is a common surgical procedure used for removing pituitary tumors. This process allows the pituitary gland to be accessed via the nose. The neurosurgeon may even put an endoscope in the nose for removing the tumor. Since no incisions are made, the operation doesn’t leave a scar.
If you are unsure about getting brain surgery, you should explore other treatments for a brain tumor with your neurologist. You can also get a second opinion from a specialist who has expertise in treating brain tumors.
What will happen after my brain Tumor Surgery?
After the brain tumor surgery, you will be kept under observation for some time in a critical unit. Your doctors may connect you to IVs, an oxygen mask, and a catheter.
A dressing or bandage will also be put on your head for around two days. Once you start walking and eating normally, the IVs will be eventually removed.
You will have to stay in the hospital for about 2-5 days after the brain tumor surgery.
The exact duration of hospital stay will be influenced by factors like the kind of surgery performed and if it had any complications.
To determine if the treatment is successful, a CT scan or an MRI will be conducted.
Possible Risks of a Brain Tumor Surgery
Brain tumor surgery has saved the lives of many patients. Owing to the arrival of less invasive surgical techniques, the procedure has become safer than ever. However, it is still a major operation that can pose certain risks. You should discuss these risks with your doctor before proceeding with the surgery. Some of them are:
- Risk of bleeding
- Brain swelling
- Confusion or memory changes
- Problems with speech and difficulty in speaking
Avail Brain Tumor Treatment in Different Countries
Brain tumor surgery is a major procedure that should only be opted for after considering all possible treatment options. If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, we urge you to seek out the best hospital or neuro-oncologist for your treatment. Surgery is a possible treatment but it may not be for everyone. If you decide to go for surgery, you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of it.
This is to ensure that you undergo a safe and effective treatment with a peaceful mind!