Brain tumor surgery is performed to remove primary or secondary brain tumor. In most cases of brain tumor is removed by craniotomy procedure. The craniotomy involves removing a lesion of brain through making an opening in the skull (cranium)
Why it needed?
Brain tumor surgery is advised to treat the symptoms of brain tumors. The sign and symptoms are specific to the tumor location, size, and spread and swelling. The symptoms of the brain tumors are as follows
- worsens on waking up in the morning and reduces in a few hours, or get worse with coughing or exercise
- During sleep
- Associated with vomiting, confusion, double vision etc
- Weakness in one part of the body
- Altered mental functions
Other associated symptoms may include
- Changes in sensation-hearing, smell, taste, touch, alertness
- Eye abnormalities-uncontrollable movements, different pupil size
- Loss of control of motor functions- bladder and bowel, coordination, balance, swallowing
- Tremors in hands with difficulty in writing
- Symptoms due to pituitary tumor
- Sensitivity to heat and cold
- Symptoms related to hormonal imbalance
- Low blood pressure
Causes of primary brain tumor is not known, the possible risk factors for development of brain tumor includes
- Radiation therapy to brain
- Exposure to radiation at work , head injuries
Facts and figures
- In general brain tumors are more common in males than females
- With early diagnosis and excellent treatment many non-malignant and some malignant tumors can be cured. Long term survival rates for non malignant tumor is 95% and for some malignant tumor is about 80%
- Every year more than 21,000 adults and 1,500 children are diagnosed with malignant and benign type of primary tumors in United States
- Brain tumors, mainly occurs in aged 65 and up. However brain tumor are the second most common cancer found in children, especially children below the age of 8 years
- Successful brain tumor removal surgery saves as well as extends life of the patients
- Patients are relieved from the symptoms and can live improved quality life
- The credit of the first successful brain tumor removal goes to a surgeon William, who removed a brain tumor of a young woman in 1879.
- The surgery on particular area of brain can cause loss of mental functions- like disorder related to speech, memory, muscles weakness, imbalance, vision and coordination etc. These disorder may last for short or may remain for longer duration, sometimes don’t go away
- There are chances of developing fatal brain herniation
Risk and Complications associated with brain surgery includes
- Injury to brain tissue
- Injury to blood vessels
- Nerve damage causing, muscle paralysis or weakness
- Return of tumor grwoth
- Reaction to medication or anesthesia
- Infection in the brain structures
- Swelling of the brain
- Complete physical examination
- Blood and urinalysis
- Diagnostic tests including x-rays and arteriogram, MRI,CT scan
- Visit to a doctor and have knowledge about the risk, post surgical rehabilitation and possible outcome of the surgery. Get information about reconstructive surgeries of the breast.
- Consultation with surgeon or doctor a week ago, and have a list of medicine which are to be taken or needed to be stopped.
- Inform the surgeon about habit of smoking and alcohol.
- Arrangement for leave from work, help at home, helps with driving and during rehabilitation program.
- Arrangement for blood donation, if required during surgery
- Arrangement at home considering post surgery rehabilitation
- Medical tourist are advised to select a comfortable and handicap accessible hotel room, for recovery after getting discharge from hospital
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery
- Have a easy to wear clothes
- Patient’s scalp is shaved before the operation
Post operative care
- Generally a patient needs to stay at hospital about 7-14 days after the surgery. Immediately after the surgery patient is shifted to ICU, where vital signs are constantly monitored. Once patient stabilizes is shifted to a normal room and his brain functions are closely monitored by doctor and staff. Medication will be given to control pain and avoid any infections.
- The incision is covered with bandages, which needs to be removed and replaced regularly.
- Patient is kept on intravenous fluids for the first few days
- The physical therapy is started during the hospital stay to help patient improve strength, daily living skills and speech.
- Normally patients experiences emotional changes and feel discouraged, tired after surgery. Family and friends support with positive attitude is helpful to come out from the state.
Dos, Don’ts and Precautions to be taken following the brain tumor surgery includes
- Keep the scalp dry and clean until the sutures are removed
- Take proper rest
- Do not lift heavy weight and perform strenuous activity
- Follow the post surgery care instruction given by the surgeon properly
- Monitor changes in speech and mental ability and update the doctor regarding it.
Fully recovery may take about 8 weeks to 2months post surgery. The outcome of the surgery depends on the type and location of the tumor, patient’s general health and type of the surgery performed.