Surgery is at the cornerstone of most treatment plans for patients with brain tumors. Brain surgery requires the skill of a trained and experienced neurosurgeon. At St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center, our head of neurosurgery will work with you personally to decide on the best course of action.
Neurosurgery to Treat Brain Tumors
Surgery is commonly used to treat brain tumors. How it is used will depend on the size and stage of the tumor.
- Removing the tumor completely. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, your doctor may be able to remove the entire tumor.
- Debulking surgery. Sometimes, the tumor is too big for your doctor to remove all of it safely. In this case, your doctor will perform debulking surgery, which reduces the size of the tumor, making it easier to destroy using other methods, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Surgical procedures for patients with brain tumors include:
- Craniotomy: This is similar to the open brain biopsy. Your doctor removes part of your skull, removes the tumor completely, or as much as possible, and then replaces the piece of your skull. For this procedure, you are under general anesthesia, meaning you are asleep the entire time.
- Awake craniotomy: As the name suggests, you are awake for parts of this procedure. You receive local anesthesia, so you will not feel any pain. You are awake so that your surgeon can test different parts of your brain, to ensure that no language or other critical thinking areas are damaged by the surgery.
Often, surgery is followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or sometimes both.