About Surgery for Brain Tumors
Surgery is a common treatment for brain tumors. The type of surgery your team recommends is influenced the number, size, and location of your brain tumors – especially their proximity to areas of the brain that power critical function. Your doctor may recommend drug therapy or radiation therapy before surgery to shrink a tumor and make it safer to remove. Drug therapy or radiation therapy after surgery is also commonly used.
If surgery provides a good treatment option, you will meet with a neurosurgeon to develop a plan. Surgery is individualized for every patient. Your neurosurgeon will work with you to determine the least invasive, most effective, and safest surgery for your condition. We also help you prepare during your preoperative preparation and during your recovery at home.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT SURGERY FOR BRAIN TUMORS
Where You Are In Your Care
1Getting Started In Your Care
2Getting Your Diagnosis
3Planning Your Treatment
4Undergoing Treatment & Follow-Up
Surgery for Brain Tumors: Patient Care Resources »
About Surgery for Acoustic Neuroma »
About Surgery for Glioma, Glioblastoma & Astrocytoma »
About Surgery for
Surgery is an effective, primary treatment for many types of brain tumors. Treatment goals for brain tumor surgery are to:
- Obtain a tissue diagnosis
- Eliminate as much of the tumor as possible, while preserving critical brain function
- Relieve symptoms such as swelling or seizures
Approaches to Brain Surgery
Surgical approaches to brain tumors vary dramatically according to the number, size, and location of tumors and their proximity to areas that power critical functions.
Surgery may be in the form of biopsy to collect small amounts of tumor tissue to confirm a diagnosis and inform treatment decisions. More significant surgical procedures may be recommended to remove all or part of tumors.
Depending on the location of the tumor, your surgeon may recommend a minimally-invasive approach that speeds recovery.
Every person is different, so treatments that work for one person may not be right for another. Your surgeon will help you decide what approach may be right for you, based on factors such as:
- Type, size, location, and numbers of tumors
- Your age, overall health, and personal preferences
- Alternative options available for treatment of your particular tumor
Also known as a surgical oncologist, your surgeon specializes in surgical procedures to diagnose and treat tumors. Your surgeon serves as your attending physician, the doctor who directs your care team.
Neurosurgeons perform both biopsies (taking tiny samples of tissue) to test for cancer and confirm a diagnosis as well as surgery to remove the tumor. They help you choose the best type of surgery for your care. Potential options include traditional (open) approaches or minimally invasive techniques to remove tumors and surrounding tissue.
These specialists provide medical and surgical care for patients with conditions affecting the ears, balance, the facial nerves, and bones of the head and neck.
An anesthesiologist is a doctor who specializes in using medications to block pain during surgery. These medications also help you relax during the procedure or ease you into unconsciousness. After giving medication, your anesthesiologist monitors vital functions such as breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate throughout your surgery and immediate recovery.
Depending on the type of surgery you have, you may need local (small area), regional (larger area), or general (overall) anesthesia. You will meet with your anesthesiologist at your pre-operative visit to review your case in detail.
Working closely with your neurosurgeon, your pathologist performs and reads laboratory tests to determine the type and stage of cancer present. These doctors have special training to detect and diagnose cancer. They use a microscope to examine tissue samples taken during a biopsy. As with radiologists, you may not meet your pathologist while he/she works with your oncologist to diagnose your cancer.
Extended Care Team
This health care provider works with your surgical oncologist to help with diagnosis and treatment. An APP can be a nurse practitioner (NP), physician’s assistant (PA), or clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
Our MCC will call you before your surgery to provide instructions about preparing for the procedure, as well as for your recovery at home. This call will cover:
- What to do in the days before surgery
- How to handle your return home, including arranging for help for the first few days
- Answers to your questions
The CAA helps with administrative issues such as scheduling your appointments, managing your paperwork, and requesting your medical records.
If you need to stay in the hospital after surgery, a registered nurse will take care of you.
This team member greets you at the front desk and registers you for your appointments.
A surgery scheduler will arrange your pre-surgical appointments with your surgical oncologist. This staff member also schedules your surgeries
Cancer Care Services
Cancer Care Services is your connection to personalized support services before, during, and after your treatment. Our teams of doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual care providers, nutrition experts, financial counselors, and more work with your oncology team to provide comprehensive specialized care to you and to your family.
- 650-498-6000 Ask for the Cancer Care Services team
Stanford Health Library
For confidential help with your health care questions, contact the Stanford Health Library. Professional medical librarians and trained volunteers, access journals, books, e-books, databases, and videos to learn more about medical conditions, treatment options, and related issues.
- 875 Blake Wilbur, Palo Alto: 1st floor near the cafe, 650-736-1960
- South Bay Cancer Center: 3rd floor lobby, 408-353-0197
Email us your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
At your first appointment, you will need the team who will take care of you throughout your treatment. During this visit, your doctor will discuss your medical history with you in detail.