A mass of abnormal growth of tissue cells in the brain is called a brain tumor. Brain tumors are classified by grade, or complexity, rather than by stage, or severity.
A brain tumor is either benign or malignant, which classifies its potential ability to be fatal. It is also classified as either primary or metastatic, which means that cancer either originated in the brain or spread from another part of the body, respectively.
Whether the tumor is benign or malignant, a brain tumor is considered serious and should be removed as much as possible through a surgical procedure called a craniotomy. This is the formal term for brain tumor surgery.
What Is a Craniotomy?
For benign or low-grade brain tumors, a craniotomy may be the only treatment necessary. High-grade tumors may require additional treatment following a craniotomy to kill the cancer cells, including chemotherapy and/or radiation.
A craniotomy is performed by a neurosurgeon (a brain surgeon) using various tools including a scalpel, an ultrasound scanner, and a microscope. First, the scalp is shaved where the surgeon is going to make the incision. Next, the doctor removes the section of skull bone in order to access the part of the brain where the tumor is located. Then, the surgeon removes the tumor as much as possible – this is called a tumor resection, because total removal is not always viable or possible.
The removal of part of the tumor is another way to approach it, and the remaining tumor cells will be treated using chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. The neurosurgeon may not be able to completely remove the tumor if doing so will end up causing too much brain damage.
The surgeon then re-traces the steps – replacing the skull bone (securing it with metal brackets) and stitching the scalp tissue.
Other Types of Brain Tumor Surgery
The type of brain tumor surgery may vary depending on the location of the tumor. The surgical approach for meningiomas, esthesioneuroblastomas, and malignant skull-base tumors located toward the front of the brain is usually an extended bifrontal craniotomy.
A supra-orbital craniotomy, or eyebrow craniotomy, is the surgical approach for patients with brain tumors located around the pituitary gland. This procedure is performed via this special method in order to prevent damage to the critical structures and brain tissue around the gland.
Neurosurgeons in Denver and Colorado Springs
Brain tumor surgery is a complex medical procedure that should only be performed by a highly skilled and experienced neurosurgeon. The board-certified neurosurgeons here at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery conduct hundreds of brain tumor surgeries every year using the most advanced surgical techniques.
We will discuss your treatment options with you so that you can be confident in your decision – and so you know what to expect. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our outstanding neurosurgeons, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (303) 790-1800 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to serving you.