Glioblastoma: How Fast Do They Grow
A 57 year old female presented with new onset seizure. An MRI was obtained showing a lesion in the right frontal/parietal region. You can see there is some mass effect, slight effacement of the ventricle, and a whiff of enhancement. Needle biopsy returned astrocytoma, WHO Grade 3.
Surgical resection was recommended, but the patient chose instead to pursue external beam radiation and oral chemotherapy in the form of temozolomide.
Unfortunately, she now presents three months later with confusion, agitation, and left arm weakness. An MRI is again obtained. The tumor shows marked growth and different signal characteristics. You see that the mass is inhomogeneously enhancing, with marked mass effect, surrounding edema, ventricular effacement, and minimal midline shift.
At this time the patient requests craniotomy for surgical debulking. The final pathologic diagnosis is Glioblastoma, WHO Grade 4.
This shows how rapidly a glioma can grow and transform to a higher grade, in this case just three months.
What Type Of Anesthesia Will Be Used For My Surgery
General anesthesia is frequently used and is especially important for high-precision tumor removal because you must remain absolutely still. Under general anesthesia, you will be unconscious throughout the operation.
Some surgeries are done under monitored anesthesia care or sedation. You receive medicines to relax you and block pain, but you remain either conscious or in an unconscious state from which the team can easily wake you when necessary during surgery. This allows for direct feedback from you, which can be extremely important. This is often referred to as âawakeâ surgery and is discussed in more detail below.
What Is A Brain Tumor
Brain tumors are called primary tumors if they started in your brain. Theyâre considered secondary if they started somewhere else in your body and spread to your brain.
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There Are Several Potential Goals Of A Tumour Craniotomy These May Include One Or More Of The Following:
- To establish a diagnosis. This is called a biopsy. This is usually done through a small hole , rather than a craniotomy, but in some situations a craniotomy is the best option. Biopsies are often done at the same time as removal of the tumour.
- To reduce pressure on the brain . There are several types of surgery to achieve this:
- Tumour debulking. The goal here is to remove enough of the tumour to reduce the amount of pressure on the brain .
- Tumour removal .
Long Term Problems After Brain Surgery
Some people recover well after brain surgery, but this can take some time. Other people have some problems, or long term difficulties.
The problems you may have depends on the area of the brain where the tumour was . Problems might include:
- difficulty walking
- weakness on an arm or leg
- difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- behaviour changes
- problems with speech
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When To Call The Doctor
When to Call the Doctor
It is normal to experience side effects, and to even feel worse after your brain surgery before you feel better. But, there are some problems that are not normal, and you should contact your surgeon or other healthcare provider about them:
- Difficulty peeing . Loss of control of urination or bowel movements.
- Trouble staying awake or waking up.
- Fever or nausea/vomiting.
- Difficulty breathing.
- A seizure, when you havent had one before.
- A different type of seizure than what youve had before.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Brain surgery can treat a variety of serious medical conditions, including brain tumors, aneurysms and epilepsy. Some types of brain surgery require an incision in your skull and brain. Other procedures are minimally invasive and may not require any incisions. The biggest risks with brain surgery include loss of function, such as the ability to speak, walk or think. Some people need rehabilitation after surgery to regain function.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/11/2021.
Brain Tumor Surgery Recovery Time
Recovery from brain tumor surgery is a time-consuming process that takes about 4 weeks and sometimes more. Full recovery takes about 2 months.
The management team that carries out the surgery is the one that comes up with a recovery plan in order to minimize the possibility of complications that may arise and maximize the functioning ability of the brain after surgery.
The recovery is aimed at improving the quality of life and is always worth the patience post-operatively.;
The plan constitutes regular monitoring during the initial days in the hospital which depends on the type of procedure performed as well as the continued assessment after discharge.
In some cases, physiotherapy or speech therapy are also incorporated in the recovery process to help with the rehabilitation after surgery.
These rehabilitation programs are especially important in cases where a major life or lifestyle change can be seen after the surgical procedure.
Therefore, it is usually the type of procedure carried out, the complications that have occurred, and the overall health of the patient postoperatively that are used to predict how long the recovery will actually take.;
Even after maximum recovery, there are symptoms of damage that could take months before they appear as new symptoms, it is because of this reason that the patient is always advised to keep visiting the doctor frequently and do not miss the follow-up appointments usually given 10 to 14 days after discharge.;
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What Is The Outlook After Brain Surgery
Everyone recovers differently after brain surgery. It can take weeks to recover from less invasive brain surgeries. Or it may take months for you to heal from a major procedure like a craniotomy.
Talk to your healthcare provider about when its safe to return to work and normal activities. Depending on the surgery you had, they can give you specific recommendations. Its important to go to your follow-up appointments in the weeks and months following surgery. You may need imaging scans to make sure the problem hasnt returned.
What Should You Notify Your Neurosurgeon Or The Precision Neurosurgery Registered Nurse Of After Surgery
- Increasing headache which is unrelieved by pain medication
- Fever or chills
- Swelling or infection of the wound
- Leakage of fluid from the wound, or any opening in the wound after the staples have been removed
- Fitting or fainting spells
- Abnormal sensations or movements in your face, arms or legs
- Weakness or numbness
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Craniectomy
The amount of time you spend in the hospital after a craniectomy depends on the severity of the injury or condition that required treatment.
If youve had a traumatic brain injury or a stroke, you may need to remain in the hospital for weeks or more so that your healthcare team can monitor your condition. You may also go through rehabilitation if you have trouble eating, speaking, or walking. In some cases, you may need to stay in the hospital for two months or more before youve improved enough to return to everyday functions.
While youre recovering, DONT do any of the following until your doctor tells you its fine:
- Shower for a few days after surgery.
- Lift any objects over 5 pounds.
- Exercise or do manual labor, such as yardwork.
- Smoke or drink alcohol.
- Drive a vehicle.
You may not fully recover from a severe brain injury or stroke for years even with extensive rehabilitation and long-term treatment for speech, movement, and cognitive functions. Your recovery often depends on how much damage was done due to swelling or bleeding before your skull was opened or how severe the brain injury was.
As part of your recovery, youll need to wear a special helmet that protects the opening in your head from any further injury.
Finally, the surgeon will cover the hole with the removed piece of skull that was stored or a synthetic skull implant. This procedure is called a cranioplasty.
How Are University Hospitals Different From Community Hospitals
- Experience – Brain Tumor Neurosurgeons at UCLA
- A university hospital, such as Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, offers the opportunity to be treated by highly trained specialists who can offer the latest and best treatments for brain tumors. Several studies have demonstrated that patient outcome is better if a surgeon performs a high volume of a particular operation each year.
- UCLA brain tumor neurosurgeons perform several brain tumor operations each week. In addition, due to the high volume of patients treated at UCLA, our nurses are highly trained in the care of neurosurgery patients.
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What Tests Will Be Required Before Surgery
A number of diagnostic tests are often performed before surgery is recommended or carried out. In some cases the diagnosis will be fairly certain before the operation, but in many cases the exact problem will not be clear until surgery is carried out.A brain CT scan is the usual initial investigation that most patients will have had before being referred to a neurosurgeon.
A Brief Description Of A Craniotomy
A craniotomy is defined as a surgical operation that involves opening the skull for access to the brain and treatment of the defect or infection.
The scalp needs to be cut through to repair and ligate the ruptured blood vessels and to remove any abnormal growth or blood clot. Sometimes the patient is kept awake during the procedure.
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What Happens After I Am Discharged From The Hospital After Brain Surgery
- Most patients recover quickly after brain tumor surgery and are able to leave the hospital after only a few days. Depending upon your functional abilities after surgery, our physical therapists and occupational therapists will evaluate you. In some instances, a short stay at a rehabilitation hospital near your home may be recommended.
- In addition to the discharge instructions you are given, it may be helpful to gather key information prior to discharge. It is important to determine which doctor you need to see after discharge for the treatment of your brain tumor. An appointment with a radiation oncologist may be necessary so radiation therapy can begin soon after surgery. It may be beneficial to make an appointment to discuss chemotherapy with a neuro-oncologist. In most circumstances, the neuro-oncologist will be the main doctor coordinating your care related to the brain tumor after surgery. Lastly, a follow-up appointment with your neurosurgeon will be necessary to make certain your wound is healing properly.
How Do I Recover From Brain Surgery
Brain surgery recovery is a gradual process and can take two months, and sometimes more. It eventually improves the quality of patientâs life and is worth the patience. A recovery plan is created by the team treating you. All steps of the treatment plan after brain surgery must be followed so that subsequent complications are avoided.
Typically, a brain surgery procedure requires that a patient be monitored in the hospital for a few days, depending on the type of brain surgery performed. In case of a minimally invasive brain operation, the patient can leave within 2-3 days after the procedure, depending upon overall patient health and determination of risk of subsequent complications by the doctors. Post-operation assessment is continual for the duration of the hospital stay and involves frequent testing of responses and blood flow.
Brain surgery recovery is often aided by lifestyle changes involving a more active lifestyle with less stress, reduction in consumption of alcohol and frequent check-ups to monitor symptoms. Brain surgery is known to make patients very weak and tired immediately after the procedure, and it is necessary for the body to have adequate rest at this time.
In some cases, physiotherapy or speech therapy is recommended to patients who have undergone the brain surgery procedure to help with rehabilitation. Psychological therapy may be necessary if major life and lifestyle changes are foreseen due to brain operation.
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The Danger Of Brain Tumor Surgery
Brain surgery is an extremely intricate affair. Areas as small as the size of a pea are associated with critical functions inside the rest of the body.
One of the five major organs being involved, the brain, its surgery becomes a highly elaborative procedure that is woven with risks and dangers.
Although the surgery is carried out by highly specialized neurosurgeons who are trained to carry out a procedure with remarkable precision and avoid damaging the areas of important and complex functions like language and mobility, there are always risks involved.
There is a range of risks that the patient is exposed to:
- bleeding inside the brain region
- Fluid build up causing swelling;
- clot formation and blockage of blood vessels
- Infection after the surgery like meningitis;
- Short-term or long-term memory losses called amnesia
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia;
- coma or vegetative state;
Post-operatively the patient may complain of altered functions like difficulty in speech, balance, change in vision and even impaired coordination.
This is the biggest concern to the doctors while removing damaged parts of the brain during surgery therefore they only remove as much tissue as safely possible.
Swelling of the brain as a result of fluid accumulation is still a major worry after the surgery which is dangerous and is always likely to increase hospital stay. This majorly slows down the recovery of the patients.
Overview Of Brain Tumor Surgery
The specific procedure you undergo will depend on the type of brain tumor you have been diagnosed with, as well as its size and location. Your surgeon may remove all or part of the tumor, depending on the proximity of nearby structures and whether or not you will be having adjunct therapy following your surgery.
Generally speaking, there are two reasons for brain tumor surgery: biopsy and resection. In a biopsy, your surgeon will take a small section of tumor and send it to a pathologist, who will look at it under a microscope to make or confirm a brain tumor diagnosis. Resection is the surgical removal of all or part of the tumor itself. Surgeons will often perform a biopsy and resection at the same time.
To access your brain tumor, a craniotomy is usually completed at the start of surgery. This is the removal of a small section of skull to allow the surgeon to reach the tumor. Your surgeon will remove as little bone as possible, which will be replaced following surgery and secured using a plate and/or screws. Sometimes the surgeon can limit the craniotomy to a keyhole-sized incision in the skull and use specialized instruments to remove the tumor, utilizing a minimally invasive approach.
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Average Brain Tumor Surgery Recovery Time
Surgery is an effective method for treating many types of brain tumors. Whether you already have your procedure scheduled or are still learning about your available treatment options, it can be helpful to know more about brain surgery recovery time. Knowing what to expect can help you plan your recovery, as well as eliminate some of the stress associated with undergoing any surgical procedure.
The following information is not intended to be an exhaustive list of brain tumor surgery recovery times but instead a discussion of the three common brain tumors treated with surgery: pituitary gland tumors, meningioma and acoustic neuromas. Though your recovery is going to be a very personal process, it can be helpful to have some general guidelines outlining what you can expect during your recovery time.
Recovering From Brain Tumour Surgery
It can take some time to recover from your brain tumour operation. Everyone takes a different amount of time to recover.
You might stay in hospital for around 3 to 10 days after surgery.;How long you stay in hospital depends on your operation and how long you take to recover. As soon as it is safe, you will be allowed to go home where you continue to recover.