Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery
Many brain tumors can now be destroyed without open surgery. Our UC Irvine Health neurosurgeons are skilled at using specialized devices to reach tumors through a nostril or a pinhole opening in the skull.
We choose the best approach for each tumor by mapping its specific location within the brain before surgery. This is usually done with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scanning.
Our goal is to maximize treatment or while minimizing disruption to vital neural structures within the brain. This not only avoids complications, it also minimizes the chance of infection, promotes more rapid healing and a less painful recovery.
Nostril (endonasal endoscopic) approach:
Specialized endoscopes threaded through the nasal passage can be used effectively to reach and remove the following types of brain tumors:
- Midline meningiomas
- Olfactory neuroblastomas
- Pituitary adenomas
- Sinus carcinomas
Our neurosurgeons also use an endoscopic approach to treat normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), in which spinal fluid builds up in the skull, creating pressure on parts of the brain that affect balance and other key functions.
Advances in MRI technology and laser devices make it possible for our neurosurgeons to reach deep lesions in the brain through a pinhole-sized opening in the skull. The thin laser device directs heat at the tumor, destroying it without damaging surrounding tissue.
This thermal energy also is used to disrupt brain lesions that may be triggering certain types of epileptic seizures.
In the operating room, the laser probe is inserted into the tumor then connected to the MRI device. With the ability to precisely view the tumor and map the temperature of it and surrounding tissue, the neurosurgeon directs heat only at the targeted area. The laser applicator is then removed and the incision is closed with minimal suturing.
Patients are asleep throughout the procedure and typically go home the next day.
Who is a candidate for minimally invasive approaches?
It is important to note that minimally invasive approaches require specialized instrumentation and much surgical planning. They are not appropriate for all brain tumors or lesions.
Large, difficult tumors may still require conventional open surgery.
For more information on minimally invasive approaches to treating brain tumors and epileptic seizures, please call our neurosurgical team at 714-456-6966 or toll-free at 855-557-1531.