Brain Tumor Surgery in South Africa

The brain tumor is a condition wherein cells grow in an uncontrolled fashion which interferes with brain function like muscle control, sensation, memory, and other normal body functions. They can result due to exposure to radiation, family history of brain tumours or cancer located anywhere else in the body reaches the brain. If the brain tumor remains undiagnosed, it can prove to be fatal and thus, it is important to initiate treatment as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed.

A brain tumor is graded from 1 to 4, with grade one or two characterized as benign or slowly growing and grade 3 and 4 tumours rapidly progressing. Brain tumour manifests as common symptoms like headache, nausea, vomiting, epileptic seizures, or neurological deficits.  Brain tumours are not infectious and thus, one cannot catch a brain tumour. The golden standard of treatment for benign tumours is the surgery as the patient might be experiencing pressure inside the brain or functional disturbance in the brain or epileptic episodes. Malignant tumours require radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy is the standard follow-up treatment after surgery.

Regular follow-ups with the doctor are important to monitor the health and to look for any signs of recurrence. Any physiological or psychological effects of the treatment can be looked after during these follow-ups and thus, the number of days in the country are decided after patient-doctor consultation.

While booking a round trip, a person needs to spend 6-8 weeks in South Africa which depends on the surgery performed, whether the patient requires rehabilitation and how fast the patient recovers. After the surgery, the patient may take approximately 8 weeks to recover and get back to normal energy levels. The recovery phase of the patient depends on several factors like duration of treatment, types of treatment modalities used, location of tumour in the brain, age of the patient and overall health condition.  

Length of stay in South Africa can be bifurcated into:

8 days in the hospital, 14 days outside the hospital and 22 days in the country

For international patients, low-cost brain tumour surgery is a boon as they get the opportunity to get healed at a lower price than their home country. South Africa is a hub of world-class hospitals, advanced equipment, and highly specialized surgeons. South Africa is the preferred spot for brain tumour treatment because of low-cost standard treatment and affordable medical facilities.

Cost Comparison

The cost of Brain Tumor Treatment in South Africa depends upon several factors ranging from the type of treatment or surgery require to what stage the Brain Tumor is, which will lead to the final cost of the overall treatment in South Africa. Some of the Factors Affecting the cost of Brain Tumor Treatment in South Africa are:

    • Technology used
    • Type of anesthesia or sedation
    • Qualifications/expertise of the specialist
    • Incision location/type
    • The extent of surgery needed
    • The patient's general health
    • The patient's diagnosis
Treatment and Cost


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8 Day in Hospital

14 Days Outside Hospital

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About the Brain Tumour Treatment

A brain tumor is a cancerous or a non-cancerous growth of cells in the brain. This growth of abnormal cells can take place in any part of the brain or it can happen in any other body party and spread to the brain.

It is a fairly common condition that affects millions of people around the world. An undiagnosed brain tumour can prove fatal and therefore, it is necessary to undergo specific tests and initiate treatment as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed.

The symptoms of a brain tumour can be confused with some other medical condition, especially migraine. Increasingly strong headache and blurred vision are the two most common symptoms of a brain tumour. People with this condition can also experience seizures, confusion, nausea, vertigo, impaired voice, and loss of balance.

Treatment for a brain tumour depends on several factors. The type, size, and the location of a tumour, in addition to the overall health of the patient and his or her age, are some of the considerations made by the doctor while preparing a brain tumour treatment plan.

Different treatment modalities can be used to treat brain tumour patients and surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are among them. Usually, a combination of treatment modalities is used to conduct brain tumour treatment.

How is Brain Tumour Treatment performed?

The procedural details depend on the type of treatment that the patient is recommended to undergo. A surgery is almost always recommended for brain tumor patients. TO remove the tumor in the brain, the surgeon first opens the skull, a procedure known as a craniotomy.

During the surgery, the aim of the surgeon is to remove as much tumor as possible without affecting the nearby tissues. Partial tumor removal is carried out in some patients to reduce the size of the tumor to make sure that it can be treated with radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

The tumor is left as in some patients. In such cases, the doctor only removes a sample of the tumor tissue for a biopsy. The biopsy in the case of brain tumor patients is mostly conducted with the help of a needle. During this procedure, the tissue sample is looked under a microscope to identify the type of cells that it has. Accordingly, the doctors advise a course of treatment.

Radiation therapy is another treatment modality used in the case of patients with brain cancer and tumors that cannot be removed through surgery. Additionally, it is also used to destroy tumor cells that could not be removed during surgery.

External radiation therapy, internal radiation therapy, and GammaKnife or stereotactic radiosurgery are some of the forms of radiation therapies commonly used to treatment brain tumor patients.

Chemotherapy is the third treatment used for a brain tumor. It involves the use of a specific combination of drugs to kills cancer cells. These drugs are mostly administered intravenously and the patients are not required to stay in the hospital for this procedure. Chemotherapy is administered in cycles.

Recovery from Brain Tumour Treatment

After a surgery for brain tumor removal, the patients need extra time to heal fully. Additionally, it may take a few months for the patient to return back to normal energy levels. The total time taken by the patient to recover, however, depends on several factors. This may include the following:

  • The duration of treatment
  • The number and type of treatment modalities used
  • Patient’s age and overall health
  • The exact location of the tumor in the brain
  • The area of the brain affected by tumor
  • The exact length of hospital stay after the surgery may vary among patients. However, a five to six-day stay is the most common among patients. The patients are carefully monitored during this period. A team of occupational, physical, and speech therapists helps with the rehabilitation of the patient during the recovery phase.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main causes of a brain tumour?

Brain Tumor is a severe disease which happens due to the formation and growth of abnormal mass of cells in the brain. Some of these tumors are benign (noncancerous) and some are malignant (cancerous). Every tumor has its own pace of growth. The location of the tumor and its growth rate defines how it will affect the functioning of the nervous system. The Primary Brain Tumor emerges in the brain or in the tissues surrounding it like meninges (brain-covering membrane), penal glands (pituitary glands) and cranial nerves.

Primary Brain Tumors take place when the normal cells in the brain are disturbed. This particular disturbance involves the cells to grow and divide along with staying alive instead of dying as the normal cells do after a period of time. This process, in the end, allows the mass of abnormal cells to grow and become a tumor. Stating the specific reason behind this abnormal growth of mass of cells is quite tough as there has not been any solid reason supporting the very cause of brain tumors. However, there are many risk factors which are believed to have something to do with the occurrence of brain tumors. Some of the most common risk factors are –

  • Excessive exposure to radiation

  • Weak immune system

  • Genetic disorder such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Hippel-Lindau disease, Neurofibromatosis, and Tuberous Sclerosis.

What are the factors affecting the cost of Brain Tumour Treatment in South Africa?

The factors affecting the cost of Brain Tumor Treatment in South Africa are –

  • Patient’s medical condition

  • Area of tumor

  • Type of treatment

  • Type of anesthesia used

  • Patient’s diagnosis

  • Doctor’s proficiency

  • Type of hospital

  • Brand value of hospital

  • Location of the hospital

What are the types of surgeries available in South Africa for Brain Tumour Treatment?

The types of surgeries available in South Africa for Brain Tumor Surgery are –

  • Biopsy–To confirm the diagnosis, a piece of the tumor is removed with the help of a surgical procedure called ‘biopsy’. Afterward, the sample is examined under the microscope to determine which kind of a tumor it is. A biopsy can either be performed as a part of the tumor surgery or as a totally separate procedure.

  • Craniotomy –This specific surgery is the most common type of surgery performed for the treatment of the brain tumor. In order to perform the craniotomy, a section of the scalp is shaved in order to make a clear incision through the skin. With the help of specialized equipment, the surgeon removes the bone of the treatment area to expose the part of the brain enclosing the tumor. Next, the outermost layer of the brain tissue (Dura mater) is opened up and the tumor is removed.

  • Shunt –In some cases, patients develop amplified intracranial pressure. To release the pressure, a procedure is performed to drain the blocked or excess fluid. Basically, a shunt is a thin piece of a flexible tube known as the catheter that is inserted into the ventricle of the patient’s brain. The other end of the catheter is stitched under the scalp towards the neck and still being under the skin; it is stitched to another cavity of the body which is the ultimate destination of the fluid drainage.
What is the recovery process post-surgery in South Africa for Brain Tumour treatment?

The recovery process post-surgery in South Africa for the Brain Tumor Treatment is as same as it is in any other country. The healing from the surgery requires an ample amount of time and patience at the same time. It will take quite a lot of time for the patient to be healthy and resume routine activities. In addition, the total time required for the patient to heal from the surgery varies from person to person and depends on various factors such as –

  • The procedure used to remove the brain tumor

  • Location of the brain tumor

  • Regions of the brain affected due to the surgery

  • Age and health of the patient

The hospital stay depends on various factors such as the type of surgery performed, if the patient faces any kind of complications post-surgery or requires another treatment, etc.

Which are the top hospitals for brain tumour treatment in South Africa ?

The top hospitals for brain tumor treatment in South Africa are Lenmed La Verna Private hospital, Ahmed Kathrada Private hospital, Zamokuhle Private hospital, Life Kingsbury hospital, UCT Private Academic hospital, Netcare hospital.

Who are the top doctors and surgeons for brain tumour treatment in South Africa?

Top doctors in South Africa at Zamokuhle Private hospital are Dr. AO Adedipe and the doctors at Ahmed Kathrada Private hospital are Dr. V Goolab and Prof R Gopal. The doctors at Life Kingsbury hospital are Dr. AL Mbatha and Dr. John Hill. The doctors at UCT Private Academic hospital are Le Feuvre David and Prof. Taylor Allan.

What is the health care infrastructure of South Africa / Why should opt for South Africa as a destination for your medical treatment?
Like most countries, hospitals in South Africa are based upon public and private healthcare systems. There are three main levels of healthcare based upon the payment method of the patient.
  • The full paying patients are those who usually prefer to be treated by a doctor working in the private sector. They can also be funded by an external source. Many non-South African citizens also prefer this treatment service.
  • Fully subsidized patients are those who have been referred from a Primary Healthcare Service Hospital.
  • Partially subsidized patients are patients whose costs are subsidized based on the amount of their income.
The public healthcare system has three main centers for health under its wing:
  • Clinics - These are run by trained professionals and nurses. They can serve as the first point of contact for a patient.
  • Community Healthcare Centre - This is a bigger setup, complete with full-fledged services and doctors and nurses.
  • Hospital - A patient usually gets here after a referral from a clinic or community health center. One can also go in for emergencies. A hospital provides various services like performing surgery and treating chronic illnesses.
Hospitals in South Africa are gearing up to tackle major illnesses and to provide better treatment options. The South African government is also working to introduce policies and towards accommodating more patients from all across the world. It is a great country to find affordable treatment options.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in South Africa? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals
The Joint Commission International (JCI) accredits and certifies most health care organizations and programs all around the world. Joint Commission International Accreditation and Certification is recognized as the global leader for health care quality of care and patient safety.
Are the doctors/surgeons in South Africa of the best quality?
Doctors associated with Medigence are of the best quality. We hope to give our patients a pleasant experience and the best doctors we can find. Since South Africa has a lot of requirements in the field of healthcare, the country attracts doctors from all over the world to contribute their services. This can help to ensure that even you receive the best quality of doctors.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in South Africa?
One can apply for a visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission of India can then help one decide for how long a visa can be extended. This usually differs from person to person. The Medical Visa allows a person to stay for a maximum of six months with a valid visa. After this, one can go to the FRO office ( Foreigner’s Registration Office ) or FRRO (Foreigner's Regional Registration Office) and request for an extension. Do note that the validity of a visa begins on the day it is issued by the High Commission of India and not on the date of departure. Applications for visas will not be accepted more than 30 days prior to departure.
What support services does MediGence provide in the United Arab Emirates?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
  • Hospital Recommendation
    We recommend a hospital or a healthcare institution that is best suited for you, based on your ailment and its criticality.
  • 360-degree Hospital Review
    We give you a transparent and holistic view of the hospital and its infrastructure, accreditation, facilities, and expertise to give you confidence.
  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in South Africa for medical treatment?
While many cities are striving to create some of the best hospitals in South Africa, Durban, Lenasia, and Cape Town already have some very good hospitals for treatment in South Africa. Located in Durban, Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is a reasonable and affordable hospital in South Africa. Life Kingsbury Hospital in Capetown provides a holistic healing environment for patients. One can also opt for the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia. This hospital has been running for nearly 30 years now and various medical facilities can be availed from here.

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