Surgery for skull base tumours results in a cure for many patients. For most of these patients, traditional open craniofacial surgery is the safest approach with the best chance of success.
Indications for surgery:
- In recent years, however, endoscopy-assisted surgery, which leaves no visible scars, has been found to be effective for the resection of some skull base tumours.
- During endoscopy-assisted surgery, the endoscope and surgical instruments are inserted through the nose and approach the skull base tumour from below, without the need for incisions.
- The endoscopic brain surgery results in less pain and often a faster recovery than traditional surgery. The incision does not leave a visible scar on the face or scalp.
- Surgery times vary depending of the complexity of each case. For routine cases, surgery often takes two hours from the time anaesthesia is administered. More complex cases may take from four to six hours.
Removal of Brain Tumours:
Brain tumours are abnormal growth or cancers within the brain. Earlier having a brain tumour meant awaiting certain death. These days with advancement of therapy for brain tumours many can look forward to longer life spans with the diagnosis of brain tumours. Treatment for brain tumours includes surgery (minimally invasive), chemotherapy with anticancer drugs and radiation therapy.
Steps Taken in Tumour Removal Surgery:
- Brain tumor surgery: Before the surgery the scalp area is cleaned and shaved. The scalp is cleansed with an antiseptic lotion before the operation.
- Detailed images of the tumor are obtained beforehand using CT scans and MRI scans of the head. The operation in most cases is performed under general anesthesia wherein the patient is rendered unconscious.
- The surgeon makes an incision over the scalp. A hole is drilled into the skull. Sometimes a bone flap is lifted to expose a larger area of the brain for operation. In some cases the surgeon makes a smaller hole and inserts a tube with a light and camera on the tip. This is called an endoscope. The surgery will be done with tools placed through the endoscope.
- MRI or CT can help guide the doctor to the proper place in the brain. The tools are used to remove the tumor. This is a minimally invasive brain tumor surgery.
The tumor may be removed manually or may be removed using the newer techniques such as lasers, stereotactic computers, cryosurgery, thermal killing machines, ultrasound, radiosurgery, the Gamma Knife, the X-Knife, photo irradiation, blood: brain barrier disruption, boron neutron capture, etc.
- Chemotherapy: These are anticancer medications required in brain cancers. Anticancer drugs may be given as injections and sometimes as tablets or capsules. Chemotherapy may be given during and after radiation therapy with or without surgery.
- Radiation therapy: This therapy uses high energy x-rays, gamma ray, or protons beams to kills brain tumor cells. Radiation therapy usually follows surgery. The radiation kills the remaining tumors cells after surgery. External radiation therapy involves delivering radiation using large X ray like machines of frequent and regular visits to the hospital.