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  • Writer's pictureGregory Cannarsa, MD

Types of Brain Tumor Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide

Key Takeaways

  • Several surgical approaches are available for brain tumor removal, ranging from traditional craniotomy to minimally invasive endoscopic surgery.

  • The choice of technique depends on various factors including tumor type, size, and location.

  • Modern advancements in neurosurgery are continually improving the safety and effectiveness of these procedures.

The removal of a brain tumor is a highly intricate procedure requiring specialized surgical techniques and state-of-the-art technology. In this article, we explore the various surgical approaches employed in the removal of brain tumors, their advantages, and limitations, as well as what patients can expect during the surgical process.

Introduction to Brain Tumor Surgery

Surgical resection remains one of the most effective treatments for brain tumors. The aim is to remove as much of the tumor as possible while minimizing damage to healthy brain tissue. Surgery may be used alone or in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy.

Why Choose Surgery?

Surgery is often the first line of treatment, particularly for benign tumors or those that are localized. It can also relieve symptoms caused by tumor pressure on the brain, thereby improving quality of life.

Different Surgical Approaches


  • Traditional Craniotomy: Involves making a large incision in the scalp and removing a piece of the skull to access the tumor.

  • Keyhole Craniotomy: A minimally invasive form of craniotomy with a smaller incision and skull opening.

Endoscopic Surgery

  • Endonasal Endoscopic Surgery: Utilizes an endoscope inserted through the nostril to remove pituitary or skull base tumors.

  • Intraventricular Endoscopy: Targets tumors within the ventricles of the brain.

Awake Brain Surgery

Patients remain awake to assist surgeons in identifying and preserving vital brain areas responsible for functions like movement and speech.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Though not "surgery" in the traditional sense, this approach uses targeted radiation to destroy tumor cells, and it's typically reserved for small, well-defined tumors.

Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT)

A minimally invasive procedure using laser energy to heat and destroy tumor cells.

Risks and Complications

  • Infection: Proper sterilization techniques are crucial.

  • Bleeding: Risk of hemorrhage during and after the procedure.

  • Neurological Deficits: Temporary or permanent loss of neurological function.

What to Expect During Surgery

Pre-Operative Care

  • Imaging Tests: MRI and CT scans are typically conducted for surgical planning.

  • Medical Evaluation: To assess overall health and fitness for surgery.

Intraoperative Steps

  • Anesthesia: Most brain tumor surgeries require general anesthesia.

  • Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of vital signs and brain activity.

Post-Operative Care

  • Observation: Close monitoring in the ICU or surgical ward.

  • Rehabilitation: May involve physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Future Prospects

Advancements like fluorescence-guided surgery and robot-assisted procedures are promising developments for safer and more effective brain tumor removal.

For more detailed information, consult reputable resources like the American Association of Neurological Surgeons or the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies. If you or your loved one is facing a brain tumor diagnosis and researching about brain tumor surgery, call 239-422-2739 for a dedicated, personalized opinion from our fellowship-trained neurosurgeons.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for the most accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.


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