Brain Tumor Surgery - Overview

In brain tumor care, there are different types of surgery and surgeons who use various instruments and methods to remove your brain tumor. In a brain tumor surgery different doctors and surgeons often work together to create a patient’s overall treatment plan that combines different types of treatment. This is called a multidisciplinary team. The procedure for brain tumor surgery involves removing a part of the bone from the patient’s skull for better access to the intracranial part of the brain. Based on where the tumor is located and accessibility of the tumor, the surgery either helps in removing it completely or partially. In cases of partial removal, the patient might also need chemotherapy or radiation posts the brain tumor surgery.

Brain Tumor Surgery - Symptoms

Some of the very common symptoms that might indicate a brain tumor include:

  • Vision issues like blurred vision, double vision or peripheral vision
  • Sleep or memory problems
  • Constant headaches that get more frequent and severe with time
  • Change in the pattern of headaches
  • Unexplained vomiting or nausea
  • Seizures or fits

Your neurosurgeon will recommend a tumor surgery to treat brain tumor and also to:

  • properly administer the cancer drugs given to the patient
  • Insert a ventricular access device or a medicated plastic capsule to
  • Insert chemotherapy chips in the patient’s brain
  • Diagnose the exact type of brain tumor

Brain Tumor Surgery - Pre-Procedure

Before performing the actual surgery the surgeon will first recommend a biopsy to diagnose the type of tumor and then decide the right plan for brain surgery or brain tumor treatment based on the reports. The biopsy takes usually a single day procedure that is conducted in the hospital’s day care. Once the treatment plan is ready, the surgeon will give the following instructions:

  • Fast for 8 to 10 hours before the surgical procedure
  • Stop blood thinning medications minimum 10 days before the surgery
  • Wash hair at least one day before the surgery and ensure they are dry so that your head can be shaved properly

Brain Tumor Surgery - During Procedure

Surgery to remove brain tumor is performed under general anesthesia by a reputed neurosurgeon and his competent team. Since this is an extensive surgery, it can take anywhere between 4 to 8 hours to finish the whole procedure. The following are the steps involved in the surgical technique:

  • In the first step the part of the head that needs to be operated will be shaved and the skin will be thoroughly cleansed.
  • Then a IV line is inserted in the arm and a urinary catheter is inserted to drain the urine during and post the procedure.
  • Based on the type of procedure, the surgeon will make an incision from behind the ear to the nape of the neck or in some other location as per the treatment plan. The incisions are relatively smaller in the case of endoscopic surgeries.
  • The surgeon will then pull the scalp back in order to easily access the brain. A drill or a medical saw may be used to cut the skull.
  • Next, the bone flap is removed and the thick covering below the bone is separated from the bone while facilitating the fluid to flow out
  • Once this is done, the tumor is exposed and the surgeon carefully removes it using specialized equipment. In case it is not fully accessible, only partial tumor is removed
  • When the tumor is fully removed, the bone flaps are reattached using medical plates and screws
  • The incision is then sutured and a bandage is applied

Brain Tumor Surgery - Post-Procedure

After the brain tumor surgery, the patient is kept in the hospital for one or two weeks. In case when only partial tumor is removed, patients might have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation just after the surgery to kill the cancer cells still remaining in the brain. In many of the cases, there is a slight swelling in the brain after the surgery. The team of doctors will constantly keep a check on the patient to ensure the coordination of the brain and body post-op. For instance, pupils are checked by flashing light in the eyes and strength of the arms and legs is also regularly monitored. Once the patient is discharged, the doctor will recommend:

  • Deep breathing exercises so that the lungs expand and contract, minimizing the risk of pneumonia
  • Walking around a little to prevent blood clots in the legs and to speed up the recovery process
  • Regular exercise with the assistance of a physiotherapist
  • Avoiding heavy lifting for a few weeks post the surgery

Generally, it will take at least 2-3 months for patients to recover completely after this surgery.

Brain Tumor Surgery - Risk & Complications

Brain tumor surgery is a complex surgery and it comes with quite a few risks and complications. The surgeon will explain all the pros and cons of the surgery and help the patient understand the severity of the associated risks. Some of the known complications include:

  • Repeated seizures after the surgery
  • Brain haemorrhage (bleeding in the brain)
  • Swelling in the brain
  • Pneumonia or infection in the lungs
  • Meningitis
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leakage
  • Formation of blood clots in the brain or other body parts
  • In some rare cases, paralysis or memory loss

More Info
India is home to some of the highly skilled neurosurgeons and best medical facilities for brain surgery. The success rate of glioblastoma treatment and meningioma surgery treatment for brain tumor is high in India, making it a preferred destination for patients from around the world. Some of the best hospitals for the surgery are located in top cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. Stay, food, travel and other expenses are also comparatively low in India, thus assuring patients of an affordable treatment. Approximate Cost – $7000 – $10000 Post Discharge Stay – 10 Days.

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