A biopsy simply means the removal of a sample of tumor tissue, which can be sent off for various tests to help determine further course of action. At Athens Brain & Spine, we use stereotactic navigation to aid the biopsy process. A stereotactic brain biopsy uses 3D imaging to map the brain and guide the process of extracting tissue so as to be as minimally invasive as possible. The risks associated with stereotactic brain biopsy are minimal. Sometimes the sample of tissue obtained may be non-diagnostic, which may warrant a repeat biopsy. Other risks include intracranial hemorrhage, seizure, or infection; however, you can rest assured that we will monitor you after the procedure for several hours to ensure proper recovery.
A brain tumor resection is a surgical dissection of the patient’s brain. It is performed by cutting the skull open and then using a scalpel to cut out the portions of the tumor that are accessible. This reduces the size of the tumor to a point where it can be treated by radiation. Even for tumors that cannot be completely removed, partial removal has a role. There is increasing evidence that the more tumor is removed at surgery, the better your chances that other therapies, including radiation therapy and chemotherapy, will be effective. Neurosurgeons in general will recommend as complete a surgical resection as possible, so long as the tumor can be removed safely.
As with any major procedure, there are certain risks and side effects which may be encountered. These include infection, blood clots, temporary or permanent neurological deficits, bleeding, seizures, or prolonged hospitalization. With a typical brain tumor resection, you can expect to spend three to five days in the hospital post-procedure; any of the aforementioned side effects will also indicate further time in the hospital is needed for monitoring and recovery. As always, your health and comfort are our top priority and we will do everything within our power to ensure your stay with us is brief, complication-free, and effective.