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Surgery for brain cancer

surgical oncology

What is surgery?

Surgery is used to diagnose, stage and treat cancer, and to manage certain cancer-related symptoms. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures and will discuss the surgical options that are best suited to your individual needs.

Whether a patient is a candidate for surgery or not depends on factors such as the type, size, location, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as general health factors such as age, physical fitness and other coexisting medical conditions the patient may have.

For many patients, surgery will be combined with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy. These nonsurgical treatments may be administered before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) or after surgery (adjuvant therapy) to help prevent cancer growth, spread or recurrence.

Early in the treatment planning process, we plan for and proactively manage anticipated side effects from surgery. Our nutritionists, rehabilitation therapists and naturopathic clinicians work together with your surgical oncologist to support healing and quality of life. Our reconstructive surgeons perform procedures to restore the body's appearance and function when needed, at the time of surgery or following surgery.

Surgery

Video: What Are the Advanced Surgical Techniques & Tools Used to Treat Neurological Cancers?

Dr. Baird discusses innovative and advanced surgical techniques neurosurgeons use to remove brain and spinal column tumors. He explains how the less invasive surgical procedures are performed and how they may benefit patients.

Brain cancer surgeries

Surgery for brain cancer

Brain cancer treatment at CTCA commonly involves surgery as the first line of treatment. Our cancer experts are experienced in performing minimally invasive surgical procedures for brain cancer that precisely and safely remove tumors.

The goal of brain cancer surgery is to locate and remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible, called debulking, and to understand the extent of cancer in the brain.

Surgery can also help to relieve pressure inside the skull and restore lost neurological function. It can help to relieve difficult-to-control seizures caused by the tumor. Sometimes, surgery is used to enable direct access for other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Brain cancer surgery often begins with a biopsy. In a biopsy, we remove samples of cancerous tissue from the brain, and a pathologist examines the samples under a microscope for a definitive diagnosis. Often, during a biopsy, we’ll remove the tumor in its entirety, which is particularly important when the tumor threatens important brain structures.

Resectable vs. unresectable brain tumors

The location and size of the brain tumor, along with other individual factors, determine whether a tumor is resectable or unresectable. Some tumors are considered unresectable if they’re located in critical areas of the brain, where surgical removal would be too dangerous or cause too much damage to healthy brain tissue. The safety of tumor resection may be increased by the use of neuro-physiological monitoring "brain mapping." We use brain mapping techniques whenever possible during brain and spinal surgery.

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