Brain tumors can be one of the most frightening medical diagnoses that a person can receive. Thankfully, advancements in neurosurgery have provided multiple surgical approaches to treating brain tumors. In addition, several other treatment options can help manage brain tumors.
Let’s explore brain tumors and various surgical approaches and treatment options for brain tumors.
What Are Brain Tumors?
Brain tumors are abnormal growths of cells in the brain, which can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Brain tumors can originate in the brain (primary brain tumors), or they can begin elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain (secondary or metastatic brain tumors). Brain tumors can be gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, acoustic neuromas, craniopharyngiomas, and others.
When treating brain tumors, medical professionals use a variety of approaches based on the tumor’s type, size, and location, as well as the patient’s overall health. Common Treatments include:
- Brain tumor surgery
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted drug therapy
- Tumor treating fields
- Clinical trials
- Follow-up care and rehabilitation
Surgical Approaches for Brain Tumors
The goal of brain tumor surgery is to remove as much of the brain tumor as possible while minimizing damage to healthy brain tissue. Here are some of the most common surgical approaches.
- Craniotomy: Craniotomy is the most common procedure, where a piece of the skull is removed to access the tumor.
- Awake Brain Tumor Surgery: In awake brain tumor surgery, patients are kept awake to help surgeons avoid areas of the brain responsible for vital functions like speech and movement.
- Neuroendoscopy: Neuroendoscopy uses a small, flexible tube with a light and camera attached to remove tumors or take tissue samples from hard-to-reach areas of the brain. The endoscope enters through the nose or other parts of the body.
- MRI-guided laser ablation and Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT): This uses computer technology and intraoperative imaging techniques to guide a laser to heat and destroy tumors.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is often performed to remove a small tissue sample for testing.
- Neuroplastic surgery: This surgery combines reconstructive and neurological surgery techniques to minimize scarring and improve outcomes.
Other Treatments for Brain Tumors
Beyond surgery, there are several other treatment options for brain tumors are available:
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams, such as X-rays, protons, or other forms of light energy, to kill tumor cells. This therapy can be done externally (external beam radiation) or internally (brachytherapy). There’s also a precise form of radiation therapy called stereotactic radiosurgery.
Radiation therapy can also be used as a primary treatment option for patients with tumors that are not suitable for surgery due to their location or size. Radiation therapy can cause side effects, including fatigue, nausea, and skin irritation.
Chemotherapy is another non-surgical treatment option for brain tumors. It involves the use of medications that kill cancer cells or slow down their growth.
Chemotherapy is used to treat aggressive or cancerous tumors. It can be administered orally, intravenously, or directly into the brain through a catheter. Chemotherapy can cause side effects, including hair loss, nausea, and vomiting.
Targeted Drug Therapy
This therapy uses medicines that specifically target and attack specific cell traits to halt the spread of brain tumors. It’s different from chemotherapy because it doesn’t harm the healthy cells in the body. This means that side effects are usually less severe.
This therapy treats metastatic brain tumors and is often used along with other therapies like radiation and surgery.
Tumor Treating Fields
This treatment uses mild electric pulses to slow down the growth and spread of brain tumor cells. The device used for this treatment is portable and looks like a swimming cap connected to a small backpack.
Neurosurgeon in Aurora, Colorado
Brain tumors can be life-threatening and require timely and effective treatment. If you have received a diagnosis of a brain tumor and are looking for effective treatment, visit us here at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery. We have a team of highly trained and compassionate neurosurgeons who use advanced Surgical approaches and treatment options for brain tumors depending on tumor type, size, and location.
We regularly treat a wide range of cranial conditions, including arachnoid cysts, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), astrocytoma (common CNS tumor), cavernous malformation, hemangioblastoma, traumatic brain injuries and others.
To know more about the cranial conditions we treat or schedule a consultation with our experts at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery, call us today at (303) 790-1800 or use our simple online appointment request form.