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Neurosurgery for brain tumours

Neurosurgery is one of the main treatment options following the diagnosis of a brain tumour. Learn more about neurosurgery and brain tumours, including biopsy procedures, tumour removal and brain surgery side effects.

Why is neurosurgery performed for brain tumours?

Neurosurgery can have several purposes related to the treatment of your tumour and its symptoms, including:

  • a biopsy to diagnose the tumour type
  • a craniotomy to remove all or part of the tumour
  • inserting chemotherapy drugs directly into the brain
  • inserting a shunt to reduce the build-up of cerebrospinal fluid.

It is important to know that neurosurgery is not always possible. If your brain tumour is too close to an important part of the brain, surgery may be too risky. In this case, another treatment option will be suggested.

After neurosurgery

What to expect after neurosurgery

Your will wake up in an intensive care unit (ICU) or a high dependency unit (HDU) to allow for closer monitoring. Visiting hours are usually very flexible.

If you have a dressing on their wound, this is likely to stay on for around 5 days after surgery. Stitches are usually removed 5-14 days afterwards and may be dissolvable. You may have some swelling and bruising on their face.

You may have a number of tubes coming in and out of your body. These are to help with:

  • draining fluids
  • monitoring their progress
  • supply your body with water, nutrients and medicines

You will need to rest for a number of days afterwards, but will not be kept in bed any longer than is necessary. Hospitals like to get their patients up and get moving as soon as is safe.

Advice about hair washing, going back to work or education and taking part in leisure activities will be given by your healthcare team when you are discharged from hospital.

Follow-on treatment

After a few days, you are likely to have a brain scan to see how much, if any, of the tumour remains and how much swelling you have. You may then be given chemotherapy and/ or radiotherapy, to get rid of any remaining tumour cells. You may also be given:

  • Steroids to reduce swelling and pressure on the brain
  • anti-epileptic medication as a preventative measure against seizures due to increased pressure in the head.

Get your free brain tumour information pack

Our FREE Brain Tumour Information Pack has been designed to help you through this difficult time, to guide you through the healthcare system, answer your questions, and reassure you that you're not alone so that you feel confident when discussing treatment and care options with your medical team.

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