At Columbia Neurosurgery, our neurosurgeons use the latest surgical techniques to successfully treat brain tumors, providing the best possible outcome for each patient. Specific treatment for brain tumors depends on several factors, such as type, location, and size of the tumor in addition to an individual’s age, overall health, and medical history.
For most brain tumors, the first step of treatment is usually surgery, the goal of which is to remove as much of the tumor as possible while maintaining neurological function. If complete resection is achieved, the tumor may be cured; however, for some tumors, only subtotal resection is possible because otherwise normal brain tissue could risk damage. Our highly skilled neurosurgeons are careful to excise as much tumor as possible while preserving brain tissue and overall function.
Brain tumor surgery can be performed by craniotomy or transsphenoidal surgery to remove the tumor, depending on what is best for the patient and tumor type. If hydrocephalus is present, a ventriculoperitoneal shunt will need to be surgically placed into the blocked ventricle before or during surgery. The other end of the tube is placed into the abdomen to help drain excess fluid that can otherwise build up in the brain and cause an increase in pressure inside the skull.
If residual tumor remains, adjuvant therapy along with radiation therapy, chemotherap, or both may be needed.
One of the newer therapies that may be used to treat brain cancer is stereotactic radiosurgery. This technique focuses high doses of radiation at the tumor site, while sparing the surrounding normal tissue, with the use of photon beams from a linear accelerator or cobalt X-rays.