Brain Tumor Surgery
Brain tumor surgery is often an important component of a patient’s overall treatment plan. After evaluating the size and grade of a brain tumor, as well as the patient’s age and overall health, the multispecialty tumor board of cancer experts at Moffitt Cancer Center can determine whether a safe resection (surgical removal) of all or a portion of the tumor is possible. In addition to or as an alternative to brain tumor surgery, Moffitt’s tumor board might recommend radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy to attempt to destroy the cancer cells and shrink the tumor, which can sometimes make a required surgical procedure less extensive. Additionally, these therapies can help alleviate some symptoms to improve the patient’s quality of life.
At Moffitt, we offer the latest advances in brain cancer surgery, such as robotic-assisted procedures, along with a level of surgical expertise that far exceeds that of most other cancer centers. As a high-volume cancer center, we see many brain cancer patients – some with very rare and difficult-to-treat tumors – and our neurosurgeons perform a high number of complex brain cancer procedures. As a result, our neurosurgeons’ experience is extensive, and their skills are highly refined, which can make all the difference in beating brain cancer.
The neurosurgeons at Moffitt perform a number of different types of brain cancer surgery, including:
- Biopsy – A surgeon obtains a tissue sample for further testing by inserting a hollow needle into the tumor and drawing up a small amount of tissue. When performed with computer-assisted guidance, this procedure is known as a stereotactic biopsy.
- Craniotomy – Using specialized instruments, a surgeon removes a section of bone from a patient’s skull to access a tumor. After completely or partially removing the tumor, the surgeon replaces the bone. Awake craniotomies (in which patients are typically awake for most of the surgery, as general anesthesia is not required) can allow for enhanced monitoring of the patient throughout the procedure. Plus, about 75 percent of Moffitt’s awake craniotomy patients go home 24 hours or less after surgery.
- Craniectomy – This procedure is similar to a craniotomy, but the piece of skull that is removed from the skull is not replaced immediately. This can help alleviate pressure caused by swelling after surgery.
- Shunt procedure – If excess fluid is causing pressure to build in the brain, a shunt (narrow, flexible tube) can be placed, either permanently or temporarily, to move the fluid to another part of the body.
- Endonasal endoscopy – A surgeon guides an endoscope and tiny camera through a patient’s nose and sinuses. Then, using image guidance, the surgeon can remove the tumor or obtain samples for biopsy.
- Neuroendoscopy – After creating a small opening in a patient’s skull, a surgeon uses an endoscope and tiny camera to navigate the brain, remove tumors and obtain tissue samples.
- Skull base surgery - This procedure can be performed endoscopically or in a conventional, open approach to better reach the surgical site.
- Visualase - This MRI-guided laser ablation treatment can be used in place of traditional surgery for certain tumors that develop in the brain or spine.
Moffitt is widely known and respected for its robust clinical trial program, through which many of our patients benefit from exciting new breakthroughs in brain tumor surgery and other treatments as soon as they become available. While keeping abreast of new medical developments, our tumor board closely monitors each patient’s progress on an ongoing basis and refines the treatment plan as necessary. In addition to multiple expert opinions, our patients receive highly individualized treatment and compassionate care, and no referrals are required to consult with the experts in Moffitt’s Neuro-Oncology Program.