Types of Operations for the Removal of Brain Tumors
When a brain tumor is discovered, urgent medical intervention is often necessary in order to prevent permanent damage to the brain, one of the most important organs in the body. Surgery to remove the tumor is considered to be the most effective option for the treatment of brain tumors. That said, surgery is not always possible and performing an operation depends, among other things, on the location of the tumor within the brain as well as the various features unique to each tumor. At the Neurosurgical Center for Excellence at the Herzliya Medical Center private hospital, there is a team of highly skilled neurosurgeons who specialize in the treatment of brain tumors, especially highly skilled in performing complex neurosurgical procedures. After the full range of diagnostic tests is performed, the doctors can determine what treatment will be the most effective for you – and carry it out optimally.
What are the considerations for deciding to operate on a brain tumor?
Brain surgery to remove a tumor is typically considered to be the best option when a dangerous tumor is discovered, because it enables the removal of the entire tumor, or at least the majority of it. Brain tumors, even if they are not malignant, can apply pressure to the important structures and tissues in the brain and affect the natural drainage process of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) thereby resulting in a host of symptoms. Removal of the tumor can therefore result in significant improvement in the patient’s condition and offer almost immediate and often total relief of symptoms. In the event that the tumor is malignant, it is even more important to have it removed, as malignant tumors have a tendency to cause damage to the healthy tissues and spread into other regions in the brain – a process that in many cases can be slowed significantly or even stopped altogether after the tumor is removed.
Although surgical intervention is considered to be a particularly effective option, it is important to remember that the tumor cannot necessarily be removed in every case. The brain is a complex and sensitive organ and any serious harm to the healthy tissues can cause serious and permanent damage to a range of bodily functions. Therefore the decision to operate is made only in cases where the entire tumor can be removed, or at least large portions of it.
The decision as to whether to choose surgery or some other form of treatment (such as chemotherapy, radiation, etc.) will be made after precise diagnosis and evaluation of your health status and examination of the nature of the tumor. First, you will undergo imaging tests that will usually include an MRI or CT examination of the head, performed at the advanced imaging facilities at the Herzliya Medical Center. Then, a decision will be made regarding whether to perform a biopsy – a semi-invasive procedure during which a small specimen of tissue will be collected from the tumor. This specimen will be sent for evaluation by the pathology lab at the hospital and they will be able to definitively determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant, and its grade of malignancy if it is, in fact, cancer.
This stage is crucial and only once it is complete will the doctor be able to determine the best treatment option, as well as when and how it will be performed.
How are operations for the removal of brain tumors performed?
After it is decided that the surgical option is the best one, the medical team will be required to make a decision regarding the type of operation. There are a number of surgical methods for the removal of brain tumors and these are some of the most common:
- Craniotomy: This operation is performed via an opening in the skull adjacent to where the tumor is located. This procedure offers the surgeon relatively direct and easy access to the tumor allowing for removal of as much of the tumor as possible. This operation is performed using either general or regional anesthesia (the latter option is chosen when it is necessary to assess brain function during the operation itself) and it typically requires a long recovery period.
- Minimally invasive craniotomy: This type of operation is considered to be relatively novel and is performed via a number of small openings in the skull. Recovery is therefore shorter and there is less risk to the patient. The surgeon will use miniature surgical instruments to remove the tumor without fully “invading” the brain.
- Brain surgery via the paranasal sinuses: Over the years, innovative surgical techniques have been developed in an effort to cause the least possible harm to the patient. Trans-nasal surgery uses the natural orifices through which the surgeon can access various areas in the brain without making deep incisions in the skin or penetrating the skull bone. Many operations, such as those performed on the hypophesis are regularly performed using this method.
- Surgery for the insertion of a catheter: There are two main reasons for inserting a catheter in the brain. First, it can allow for the localized delivery of chemotherapy efficiently into a specific area of the brain. Second a catheter can be used to drain the cerebrospinal fluid (in order to avoid accumulation of fluid in the head, a phenomenon known as hydrocephalus). In either case, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia and is done via small openings in the skull. When the purpose of the catheter is for the drainage of fluid from the space inside the skull, the far end of the tube is placed in the abdomen, to which the fluid can drain.
It is important to remember that all of these operations can take a number of hours and that the recovery period is relatively long. The operations are performed using advanced neurosurgical instruments, such as computerized navigation systems, surgical microscopes and more. After removal of the tumor, especially if the tumor is a cancerous one, the patient will be invited back for check-ups every few months in order to evaluate the success of the operation and ensure that the tumor has not returned either in its original location or in adjacent areas.
The Neurosurgical Center for Excellence at the Herzliya Medical Center private hospital makes available to you some of the best doctors who have performed many operations for the removal of brain tumors, even in highly complex cases. The neurosurgeons at the center have had impressive success rates matching the highest international standards. You are welcome choose your surgeon and even set the date of your operation at a time that is convenient for you.
Do you need to undergo a procedure for the removal of a brain tumor?
Don’t delay: Contact us today at the Neurosurgical Center for Excellence at the Herzliya Medical Center and select your surgeon from our team of superb, experienced doctors.