Surgery for Metastatic Brain Tumors

Neurosurgeon Cameron Brennan prepares in the operating room.

Neurosurgeon Cameron Brennan is part of a world-renowned team of brain surgeons at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Brain surgery today is safer and more effective than ever thanks to improvements in planning, imaging, and performing operations. Our surgeons are experts in removing brain tumors without damaging healthy tissue and releasing pressure within your skull caused by a tumor.

We use a technology called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map the exact location of the tumor before surgery. fMRI also allows surgeons to perform the operation while you’re awake. Both of these advances enable us to remove cancerous tissue safely and precisely.

Surgical Navigation with Frameless Stereotactic Surgery

Surgical navigation, also called frameless stereotaxy, helps us plan out your operation. It also functions as a guide during the operation itself.

With this approach, technicians attach adhesive plastic dots around your scalp before the operation begins. They then use MRI images to map the exact location of the dots as information about the position of your head is sent to a computer. In the operating room, an image is projected on a screen that is synchronized with the MRI, generating real-time information about the position of your brain and the tumor. Surgeons use the viewing wand to see the tumor’s outermost edges, increasing the likelihood that every last piece of the tumor is removed, if possible.

The benefits of this procedure include better accuracy plus the potential for a smaller incision and a shorter surgery.

MRI during Surgery

MSK neurosurgeons perform many brain surgeries in an operating room with an MRI scanner. This enhances accuracy and improves the success of your operation.

Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery

Depending on where in your head the brain tumor is located, you may be a candidate for neuroendoscopy. This is a minimally invasive surgery performed under magnification. In some cases we also use this approach to retrieve brain tissue for a biopsy.

With neuroendoscopy, your surgeon uses a smaller incision than needed for conventional surgery. Operating through this opening, he or she uses a thin tube with a powerful lens, a high-resolution video camera, and specialized surgical instruments to remove cancerous tissues.

Telemedicine Appointments

We know that rest is an important part of the healing process, and that travel to and from appointments can take a lot of time and energy. That’s why, for some neurosurgery visits, you may be able to see your MSK care team through our telemedicine program. If we determine that telemedicine would be appropriate for you, a member of your care team will reach out.

Telemedicine is the use of video technology to connect you with members of your MSK care team. We use secure technology to make sure all of your information stays private. You can communicate through face-to-face video conferencing via a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet device at several MSK locations. We can also use telemedicine while you or a loved one is in the hospital, either to connect you with your provider or to include someone who is not able to visit in person. During your appointment, your provider will be able to check how you’re doing, assess your follow-up needs, and discuss problems you may be having. You will be able to see and hear your MSK specialist, and they will be able to see and hear you — the only difference is that you won’t be in the same room.

A virtual visit saves you time and stress. It may also help prevent an unnecessary trip to an emergency room or urgent care center. In addition, telemedicine can help cut down on missed work days for both patients and caregivers due to travel for appointments.

Remote Opinions from Neurosurgeons at MSK
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