A craniotomy is a common procedure used to treat brain cancer, but it may not be the only option. During a craniotomy, a small portion of skull is temporarily removed so that a surgeon can remove a brain tumor. The bone fragment is then secured back into place so that it can heal.
There are several types of craniotomies, each of which is named for the specific part of the brain that is treated. These procedures include:
- Frontotemporal craniotomies
- Parietal craniotomies
- Temporal craniotomies
- Suboccipital craniotomies
Depending on how much tissue needs to be removed, surgeons may remove varying amounts of bone. Sometimes, it’s possible to make a very small incision rather than remove a large bone fragment. This approach is known as a keyhole craniotomy.
Alternatives to a craniotomy
In some situations, other procedures may be recommended as alternatives to a craniotomy. For instance, some brain tumors can be treated with stereotactic radiosurgery, in which highly precise beams of energy are delivered directly to the tumor with no need for a surgical incision. Other tumors can be surgically removed through the nasal passageways, which also eliminates the need to remove any skull bone.
Where to have brain cancer surgery
The experienced neuro-oncologists at Moffitt Cancer Center provide comprehensive, individualized treatments for all types and stages of brain cancer. If your treatment plan involves surgery, our team can help you explore your options and determine which approach is most appropriate for your specific needs. Whether that’s a craniotomy, transnasal tumor resection, craniectomy or any other type of procedure, you can trust that your treatment plan will be carefully designed to help you achieve the best possible outcome and quality of life.
For instance, when a tumor is located near the parts of the brain that control speech, we may recommend an awake craniotomy. The patient is woken up for part of the surgery so that he or she can respond to the surgeon’s prompts, helping ensure that their motor and speech functions are preserved.