We offer hope for patients with tumors and other disorders of the brain.
Our expert physicians are trained to treat all types of brain tumors and use the latest techniques and technologies to care for our patients. Lesions located in or around the base of the skull have long been considered the most difficult, if not impossible, to treat surgically. However, with today’s innovative surgical techniques, our fellowship-trained skull base neurosurgeons are able to help many patients with skull base lesions live longer and enjoy an improved quality of life.
Brain-Related Surgical Treatments
An acoustic neuroma is a rare, noncancerous tumor in the ear. Because they are benign and usually grow slowly, these kinds of tumors don't always need to be treated. However, these tumors may cause gradual hearing loss, ringing in the ear and dizziness. When surgical removal is needed, our neurosurgeons can help.
A brain biopsy involves taking a small sample of abnormal tissue to examine. This can show what kind of brain lesion (i.e., abscess, tumor) is there and whether it is cancerous or not. This will help your doctor decide what treatment is best and whether surgery is necessary.
A brain tumor is a mass of abnormal cells in the brain. There are many different types of brain tumors. Some begin in the brain and some spread from cancer in other parts of the body. They may be cancerous or they may be benign. Recommended treatments will depend on the tumor type, size and location.
Surgery tends to be the treatment of choice for tumors that can be reached without injuring other parts of the brain. Surgery can remove all or part of the tumor. A partial removal can still help relieve symptoms and make the remaining tumor cells easier to treat. Multiple treatments are often used. For example, surgery may be used to remove the bulk of the tumor, while the small remaining amount can be treated with radiation.
A Chiari malformation is a condition in which a part of the brain (the cerebellum) at the back of the skull bulges through a normal opening in the skull where it joins the spinal canal. This puts pressure on parts of the brain and spinal cord and can cause mild to severe symptoms. In most cases, the problem is present at birth.
Surgery may or may not be needed to treat this kind of malformation, depending on your symptoms. Chiari decompression surgery can be used to control symptoms, relieve compression and restore normal flow of fluids.
A craniotomy is the surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain for surgery. The surgeon uses special tools to remove the section of bone (the bone flap). After the brain surgery, the surgeon replaces the bone flap and attaches it to the surrounding bone with small titanium plates and screws. If part of the skull bone is removed and not replaced right away, it is called craniectomy. This is done if swelling is likely after brain surgery or if the skull bone flap can't be replaced for other reasons. After a few weeks to months, you may have a follow-up surgery called a cranioplasty. During a cranioplasty, the missing piece of skull will be replaced with your original bone, a metal plate, or a synthetic material.
Common reasons for a craniotomy include brain injury, aneurysms, brain tumors, certain malformations or a brain abscess.
Deep Brain Stimulation
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) uses electrical stimulation to treat neurological conditions such as Parkinson disease (PD), tremors, and dystonia. DBS can help with movement disorders such as stiffness, trouble walking and slowed movement. While it does not cure these conditions, DBS can ease symptoms. It may also decrease the amount of medicine you need. DBS involves a surgery to implant a device that sends electrical signals.
Essential tremor (ET) is a neurological disorder. It causes your hands, head, torso, voice or legs to shake rhythmically. It is often confused with Parkinson disease. ET is the most common trembling disorder that people have. Everyone has some ET. But the movements usually can't be seen or felt. When tremors are noticeable, the condition is classified as ET. ET is most common among people older than age 65. But it can affect people at any age.
Treatment depends on the symptoms and extent of disability caused by the tremor. If it's mild, lifestyle adjustments may be enough to help. As the condition progresses, medications or surgery can be used to relieve the symptoms. Surgical treatments include either deep brain stimulation or radiosurgery.
Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia (Throat Pain)
Glossopharyngeal neuralgia is extreme pain in the back of the throat, tongue or ear. Attacks of intense, electric shock-like pain can occur without warning or can be triggered by swallowing. Medications may relieve the pain at first. However, surgery is often needed for long-term relief. There are a few different surgical options for this condition. Recommended treatment will depend on causes, symptoms and severity.
Hemifacial spasm is an involuntary twitching or contraction of the facial muscles on one side of the face. Treatment options include medication, surgery or Botox injections. These treatment options help stop the spasms and relieve the discomfort. Each treatment offers benefits, but each has limitations. You and your doctor should determine which treatment is best.
Microvascular decompression (MVD) is a surgery to relieve abnormal compression of a cranial nerve. It is performed to treat trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm. MVD involves opening the skull and inserting a sponge between the nerve and offending artery or vein causing the pain signals. Medications often provide relief to patients, but when medications become ineffective or cause serious side effects, MVD is an option.
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
The brain has chambers called ventricles that normally contain fluid. This fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It cushions the brain and spinal cord. Normally, your body makes just enough CSF each day and absorbs that same amount. Sometimes though, too much fluid can build up in the ventricles. This can lead to a normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH).
A commonly used treatment for NPH is surgery to place a tube, called a shunt, into the brain to drain the excess fluid. The shunt is usually inserted into a ventricle in the brain and then passed under your skin from your head through your neck and chest to your abdomen. The extra fluid in your brain flows through the shunt into your abdomen, where your body absorbs it. The ventricles in your brain may then go back to their normal size. The shunt stays in place as long as there is too much CSF in the brain.
Pain Relief Using PSR
Medications often provide short-term pain relief for conditions like neuralgia and cluster headaches. However, this can become ineffective or cause serious side effects over time. Percutaneous stereotactic radiofrequency rhizotomy (PSR) is a minimally invasive procedure that can relieve pain in these situations. PSR uses a heating current to destroy some of the nerve fibers carrying pain signals to the brain. The patient then feels some numbness in the area rather than pain.
Endoscopic Pituitary Surgery
Endoscopic pituitary surgery is the most common surgery used to remove pituitary tumors. The pituitary gland is located at the bottom of your brain and above the inside of your nose. It regulates most of your body's hormones. Pituitary tumors can cause hormone problems and vision loss. Tumor removal often reverses vision problems and restores hormone balance.
Endoscopic pituitary surgery is done with an instrument called an endoscope. An endoscope is a thin, rigid tube that has a microscope, light and camera built into it. It's usually inserted through the nose. The camera lets your surgeon watch on a television screen while inserting other special instruments through the scope to remove the tumor.
Radiosurgery uses high-energy rays to destroy tumors and other diseases. Beams of radiation are aimed at the brain by a machine outside your body. Radiosurgery uses very high-dose beams meant to kill all the cells in the target area. The beams are tightly focused and accurate to avoid damaging healthy cells. It is often given in a one-time therapy session in a single day, or it can be broken into two to five treatments given over a week. Radiosurgery may be an alternative to open brain surgery.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is sudden damage to the brain caused by a blow to the head. Common causes include car or motorcycle crashes, falls, sports and assaults. Injuries can range from mild concussions to severe permanent brain damage. While treatment for mild TBI may include rest and medication, severe TBI requires intensive care and/or life-saving surgery.