Procedures and Red Flags

What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery is surgery than uses tiny cuts in the skin — or no cuts at all — when an operation procedure is being performed, rather than the large cuts of traditional surgery. The surgery relies on the use of an endoscope, thin tube with a light and tiny video camera on the end that allow the surgeon to see inside the body without large cuts.

Benefits of minimally invasive surgery:

  • Patients have shorter stays at hospitals
  • The recovery time is much quicker than in the case of traditional surgery
  • The patients have less pain and discomfort after surgery
  • Procedure ensures that patients have less chance of getting infections and excessive bleeding
  • The scars are usually much smaller and less visible

What is a Craniotomy?

To remove your tumor, your neurosurgeon needs to make a hole in your skull, so they can see into your brain. This operation is called a craniotomy. It is the most common type of surgery for brain tumours. A craniotomy involves a piece of the skull-called a bone flap-being removed in order to allow a surgeon access to the brain. The bone flap is typically round or oval. After the surgery is performed, the bone flap is usually returned to its previous location, where it can heal and mend like any broken bone. After several months the bone is nearly as strong as it was prior to surgery.

What is a Pituitary Adenoma?

A pituitary adenoma is a benign (non-cancerous), slow-growing tumor that arises from cells in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain, just behind the eyes. The pituitary gland is considered to be the master hormone gland that regulates the body's hormones. Pituitary tumors and pituitary adenomas (small tumors) are common and are only considered dangerous once they become too large, causing certain symptoms.

What is a Meningioma?

A meningioma is a type of tumor that develops from the meninges, the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Most meningiomas are categorized as benign tumors, with the remaining being atypical or malignant. In many cases, benign meningiomas grow slowly. This means that depending upon where it is located, a meningioma may reach a relatively large size before it causes symptoms.

What is a Hydrocephalus?

The term hydrocephalus is derived from the Greek words "hydro" meaning water and "cephalus" meaning head. As the name implies, it is a condition in which the primary characteristic is excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. Although hydrocephalus was once known as "water on the brain," the "water" is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) — a clear fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The excessive accumulation of CSF results in an abnormal widening of spaces in the brain called ventricles. This widening creates potentially harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain.

Common brain tumors in children

Common brain tumors in children Paediatric brain tumors are masses or growths of abnormal cells that occur in a child's brain or the tissue and structures that are near it. Many different types of pediatric brain tumors exist — some are noncancerous (benign) and some are cancerous (malignant). Treatment and chance of recovery (prognosis) depend on the type of tumor, its location within the brain, whether it has spread, and your child's age and general health. Because new treatments and technologies are continually being developed, several options may be available at different points in treatment.

Common tumors in children:

  • Astrocytomas
    Usually noncancerous, slow-growing tumors. They commonly develop in children ages 5 to 8. Also called low-grade gliomas, these are the most common brain tumors in children.
  • Medulloblastomas
    Most common type of childhood brain cancer. Most medulloblastomas occur before age 10.
  • Ependymomas
    Type of childhood brain tumor that can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The location and type of ependymoma determine the type of therapy needed to control the tumor.
  • Brainstem gliomas
    Very rare tumors that occur almost only in children. The average age at which they develop is about 6. The tumor may grow very large before causing symptoms.

Common symptoms of a brain tumor in children include::

  • Headaches, which may become more frequent and more severe
  • Feeling of increased pressure in the head
  • Unexplained nausea or vomiting
  • Brainstem gliomasg
  • Abrupt onset of vision problems, such double vision

Red Flags for brain and spine conditions:

  • Headaches
    Headaches are among the most common symptoms. Those caused by a tumour tend to be severe, to last a long time, and may be throbbing headaches. They may also feel worse if you cough. Brain tumour-related headaches may not improve after taking painkillers, but you may find that they feel less painful when you stand up. Waking in the night with a headache, or having worse headaches in the morning, particularly if you also feel sick, may be signs of a brain tumour. If your headaches fit this pattern, particularly if they are making you feel sick, you should see your GP.
  • Back and neck pain
    A brain tumor, especially if it is located in the cerebellum, can cause a stiff neck. A tumor in the cervical spine, such as from cancer, could also cause the neck to become sore and/or stiff.

* This is not medical advice/recommendation

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