Minimally Invasive Brain Tumor Surgery Gaining Ground

It's safe and effective for certain patients, new study finds

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FRIDAY, Sept. 30, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Minimally invasive endoscopic surgery can safely remove deep brain tumors in most patients, researchers report.

"Our study demonstrates that minimally invasive brain surgery is gaining ground," study author Dr. Mark Souweidane, vice chairman of the department of neurological surgery and director of pediatric neurological surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.

The technique appears to still be inappropriate for patients who develop hydrocephalus -- an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid around the brain, causing swelling.

"We know that endoscopic surgery is safer than opening a patient's brain -- a craniotomy -- and now, from our study, we know that even one of the most difficult types of endoscopic surgery -- intraventricular tumors in patients without hydrocephalus -- is becoming safer," Souweidane said.

Intraventricular brain tumors are located within the brain's ventricles or cavities. Removing tumors from patients without hydrocephalus can be more difficult because these patients don't have the enlarged ventricles found in patients with hydrocephalus. Enlarged ventricles provide surgeons with wider pathways to the tumor site and more room to operate once they reach the tumor site.

Souweidane said he hopes the findings from his study of 80 patients will encourage hospitals and neurosurgeons to invest in endoscopic training. He also hopes the results will encourage brain tumor patients to ask questions and investigate their surgical options.

The study appears in the October issue of Operative Neurosurgery.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about brain tumors.

SOURCE: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, September 30, 2005

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