Types of Brain Surgery

Brain surgery is just one way to treat a brain tumor. It’s always best to discuss your options with your doctor. There are many types of brain surgery. The most common types of brain tumor surgery are biopsy, laser ablation, endonasal endoscopy, neuroendoscopy, and craniotomy.


A biopsy involves taking out a small portion of the tumor and then it is examined under a microscope. The surgeon will generally do this procedure at the same time as the tumor removal surgery. A pathologist will then determine how severe the brain tumor is.


brain surgeryAn extended bifrontal craniotomy is used when the tumor is closer to the front of the brain. They will actually take some of the bone along with the tumor because this is believed to be safer than moving the brain around. The bone is then replaced at the end of the surgery. The extended bifrontal craniotomy treats Meningiomas, malignant skull base tumors, and Esthesioneuroblastoma. The extended bifrontal craniotomy is usually used on tumors that cannot be removed minimally invasively.


MRI-guided laser ablation is a minimally invasive technique to remove tumors. The laser removes the tumor. This is a technique that is used on tumors that are in areas of the brain that are very sensitive. It is also used on very aggressive tumors. The recovery time with this type of procedure is much less compared to other types of surgery.


Endonasal Endoscopy is similar to the laser ablation in that it is also minimally invasive. The doctor performing the surgery will actually go through the nose to the front of the brain. Using this technique the doctor does not have to remove any of the patient’s skull to access the tumor. It also does not require any large incision.


Neuroendoscopy is another minimally invasive surgery. The doctor will remove the tumor through small holes in the nose, mouth, or skull. A doctor will choose this surgery to avoid cutting other parts of the skull or when traditional surgery cannot access the tumor. There are a few benefits to Neuroendoscopy compared to the other options. There is less scarring, minimal pain and a much faster recovery.  The types of tumor that this treats are ventricular tumor, skull base tumors, Rathke’s cleft tumors, pineal region tumors, and pituitary tumors.


As with most surgeries, there are risks involved with brain tumor surgery. Those risks include blood clots, infection, damage to veins or nerves, bad reaction to anesthesia, hematoma, and pneumonia. Be sure to discuss with your doctor any medical conditions you have and all of the medications you are currently taking or have taken in recent history. And if you are a smoker, make sure you quit at least a few weeks prior to your surgery.  


If you are concerned with your current team of doctors contact the team at Boulder Neurosurgical and Spine Associates. They are at the forefront of brain and spine surgery and their surgeons are leaders in their field. Their team of neurosurgeons are committed to providing the best care.