Resection of Brain or Spinal Tumors
The first option for removing tumors in areas of the brain which can easily be accessed without posing too much risk to the patient, are usually tumor resections of the brain or spine. Tumors that grow in the spinal cord or brain often cause painful symptoms, and gradual loss of certain neurological functions, and may even be malignant This is why tumors that grow in the brain or spine need to be resected immediately, or at the very least, treated with radiation or chemotherapy if surgery is not possible.
The goal for this type of surgery is to remove all – if not, most – of the tumor in order to repair or restore one’s impaired neurological functions, and to relieve any symptoms brought about by the tumor. There are tumors, however, that cannot be resected. These tumors are usually deemed inoperable because of their size, or because they are located near or are attached to vital and sensitive structures in the brain or spine. In cases like this, doctors will suggest other ways to shrink the tumor down to a more manageable size, and lessen the pain and neurological symptoms caused by the tumor.
Diagnosis of Brain or Spine Tumors
Tumors in the brain or spine can be detected through Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT) scans, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans. These various imagining techniques are used to determine if a brain or spinal tumor is causing the pain and neurological symptoms a patient is experiencing. To determine whether the mass is benign or malignant, a biopsy needs to be done. This involves extracting a small piece of the mass for further study and evaluation.
If the initial tests appear to be inconclusive, doctors may opt to perform more specific tests to determine if there is indeed a tumor present or not. If the tumor is proven to be malignant, the challenge for the neurosurgeon is to remove all or as much of the mass possible, to stop the cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the brain, spine, and the rest of the body. Benign tumors may be left alone, unless they begin to interfere with a person’s neurological functions. If a neurosurgeon opts to operate on a benign tumor, it’s possible that no further surgery or treatment is needed, however, malignant tumor resections may require additional radiation therapy to ensure that no cancer cells are left behind.
How Are Tumor Resections of the Brain or Spine Done?
Patients who undergo tumor resections of the brain or spine are usually put under general anesthesia for the duration of the surgery. Neurosurgeons use various imaging tools and machines to make sure that they have a clear view of the tumor they are excising. The approach used to remove a brain or spinal tumor depends on the size and location of the tumor. There are a lot of new techniques a neurosurgeon can use to excise the tumor, and a neurosurgeon may opt for a more conservative approach to minimize the risk of disturbing vital points in the brain or spine.
For more information about brain and spinal tumors, as well as tumor resections of the brain or spine, call us today to schedule an appointment with our highly qualified doctors and neurosurgeons.