A meningioma is a tumor that develops from the meninges, the thin layer of tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord. These tumors are typically benign but 1-2% will be malignant. However, even benign meningiomas can be problematic if they put pressure on the brain or other structures. Like any procedure, it is important to understand your treatment options and the corresponding meningioma surgery risks.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is an advanced form of radiation therapy available to patients in northern NJ. The procedure takes place while you are awake, and there is no hospital stay required. Using approximately 200 individual beams of low-dose radiation, your surgeon can treat just your tumor, sparing healthy surrounding structures.
Meningiomas are tumors that form from the meninges, or lining of the brain and spinal cord. If your meningioma is aggressive or causing damage, your doctor may recommend treatment and will discuss the potential meningioma surgery risks that accompany each option.
Following your meningioma diagnosis, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t worry, that’s a natural response that many people experience. That’s a natural response that many people experience. However, you are being proactive and educating yourself about your condition. That’s a powerful way to set your mind at ease throughout this process. The better you understand your meningioma and treatment options, the less stress you will feel during this time.
The information below will help guide you through understanding the differences between Gamma Knife vs craniotomy to treat your meningioma. Both treatment options are available to patients in the tri-state area. Your doctor will make treatment recommendations based on your individual condition and help you to understand the potential meningioma surgery risks based on treatment types. But, having a general understanding before that conversation will help you when the time comes to make treatment decisions.
What is Meningioma?
A meningioma is a tumor that develops from the meninges, the thin layer of tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord. These tumors are typically benign but 1-2% will be malignant. However, even benign meningiomas can be problematic if they put pressure on the brain or other structures.
Meningiomas are classified by grade, a measure of invasiveness of the tumor. The grade of your meningioma will be one of the primary factors your doctor will take into consideration when developing your treatment plan. The higher the grade of your meningioma, the more aggressive your treatment will need to be.
Not all meningiomas will require treatment. If your tumor is small and asymptomatic, your doctor may recommend monitoring for changes over time. However, if your doctor feels that treatment is warranted, he may recommend surgery, Gamma Knife radiosurgery or a combination approach. Your doctor will base his recommendations on many factors, including the size and location of your tumor, its grade and your overall health.
Surgery for Meningioma
If your doctor recommends treatment, it is likely your treatment plan will include surgery. The surgeon will remove as much of the tumor as possible. The first step of meningioma surgery is typically a craniotomy. This is the temporary removal of a small section of the skull to facilitate access to the tumor. The bone is replaced at the end of the procedure and secured back into place.
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Meningioma
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is an advanced form of radiation therapy available to patients in northern NJ. The procedure takes place while you are awake, and there is no hospital stay required. Approximately 200 beams of radiation is used, which spares surrounding tissue of being affected by radiation.
Benefits of a Craniotomy for Meningioma
The benefits of meningioma surgery will depend on your individual condition. However, generally speaking, the benefits include:
- Surgery can often be used to remove an entire tumor effectively
- Surgery can be combined with other treatment methods, like Gamma Knife radiosurgery, when necessary
- Quick results, when time is of the essence
Risks of a Craniotomy for Meningioma
Knowing the risks of a medical procedure is part of the informed consent process. Your doctor will discuss the meningioma surgery risks specific to your case with you. In general, meningioma surgery is very safe, but meningioma surgery risks may include:
- Reactions to general anesthesia
- Pain and infection at incision sites
- Bleeding, blood clots and stroke
- Seizures and brain inflammation
- Damage to brain tissues, affecting motor and sensory functions
Benefits of Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Meningioma
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a minimally invasive procedure available in the tri-state area. The benefits of Gamma Knife radiosurgery for meningioma treatment include:
- None of the risks related to surgery, with no incisions
- No overnight hospital stay, and you are awake through the whole procedure
- Brief and mild recovery period, allowing you to get back to work and activities in a day or two
- The ability to treat recurrent or remaining tumor following surgery
Risks of Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Meningioma
- Headache, nausea, and fatigue in the following day or two, which can be treated with medication
- Swelling of the brain, which may occur in the months post-treatment but can be managed with medication
Understanding Risks Leads to Informed Decisions
Again, your personal doctor will review all the options for treating your meningioma with you. This includes the risks and benefits of Gamma Knife vs. Craniotomy. This will allow you to make informed decisions about your care, which is an important part of the treatment process. As you move forward through your meningioma treatment and recovery, continue to educate yourself about your condition and options. Doing so will help you rest easy knowing you’ve made the right choices and that your health is in good hands.