Treatment is based on information from various neurological testing and diagnostic scans. Experienced neurosurgeons along with other specialists usually make up a multi-disciplinary medical team that provide the patient with information on one or several methods of up-to-date treatment opportunities. The patient’s health status, goals for treatment, and quality of life issues should all be considered when surgery plans are discussed.
Surgery is the treatment of choice for most accessible brain tumors. Tumors located deep within the brain such as the brain stem may be inaccessible. The goal of the neurosurgeon is to remove all visible tumor, but even partial tumor removal is beneficial. Aggressive surgical removal may result in transient but significant cranial nerve dysfunction in the postoperative period. A conservative approach is indicated for patients in whom the capsule is adherent to the brain stem and the cranial nerves (Neurosurgery, 1997 Jan, 40:1, 24-9).
There is also the option of wait and watch (W&W) for patients who are diagnosed with this type tumor but who remain stable or who are only slightly symptomatic. In most cases these tumors are very slow growing and can be followed by periodic M.R.I.’s and neurological exams giving the patient and neurosurgeon time to develop a course of action. A second or even third opinion is a wise choice rather than rushing into surgery. When choosing a neurosurgeon, find one who has had broad experience with this type of tumor an its location.
New and exciting procedures are being developed. Minimally invasive micro surgical techniques being used are lessening cranial nerve deficits. The development of nerve transplant therapy to restore damaged nerves is just being brought to reality and there may be evidence of gene therapy to prevent recurrence.
The Epidermoid Brain Tumor Community pages are intended to provide information – not to advocate particular treatment options. Thus, patients should not alter treatment without first consulting their physician.
Film Clip of Right Large Temporo-Parietal Epidermoid Brain Tumor (2:35)