Craniectomy for Brain Cancer

A craniectomy is a procedure whereby a neurosurgeon creates a bone-window opening in the skull. This allows the surgeon access into the brain for safe removal of the tumor. At the end of the tumor removal, the bone that was removed from the skull to create the window is placed back and secured with a plating system. If the bone is not placed back, the procedure is called a craniectomy. A craniectomy might be necessary to relief pressure.

We incorporate advanced techniques such as awake-craniotomies with functional imaging and mapping. These permit us to identify and test functions while the patient is kept awake during the surgery so that we can safely remove tumor. We are also able to understand the relationship of critical white matter with respect to the tumor using an advanced imaging technique called tractography.

The goal of every brain tumor surgery is to remove as much tumor as safely possible – maximum safe resection. Therefore, there are scenarios whereby tumors can be completely removed, as well as situations when only a portion of the tumor can be safely removed. In rare instances, we can only perform a biopsy whereby through a small skull opening, we use CT/MRI-image guided targeting to safely advance a small needle into the tumor to get tissue for diagnosis. The image-guided or navigational systems permit the surgeon to remove the tumor with excellent precision and minimal disruption of brain tissue and function.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, each patient’s condition is carefully monitored by a multispecialty treatment team. In the event that surgery is necessary, our neurosurgeons are available to provide world-class surgical care that is individualized to the patient’s unique needs. We consider a wide range of factors to determine

  • Extent of safe tumor removal
  • Whether a craniotomy or craniectomy would be ideal
  • Whether an awake craniotomy is warranted

We also provide each patient with individualized recovery and rehabilitation instructions to ensure the best possible outcome and quality of life. For instance, many patients may need to wear a helmet or other protective device for a few months following a craniectomy, and Moffitt can ensure that each patient has the appropriate instructions for protecting his or her brain following the procedure.

For more information about brain tumor treatment at Moffitt, including the craniectomy or any other surgical procedure, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. A referral is not required.