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.