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Advancing Brain Tumor Treatment

Brain tumors can have devastating effects on an individual’s well-being, impacting cognitive functions, mobility, and emotional well-being. The significance of endoscopic neurosurgeries and navigation-guided procedures has revolutionized the treatment of brain tumors with minimal invasiveness and precision

By Dr Aditya Gupta

Every year, on July 22nd, the global community comes together to observe World Brain Day. This year’s theme is “Brain Health and Disability: Leave No One Behind,” emphasizing the importance of addressing brain health issues and ensuring equal access to treatment for individuals with disabilities. One of the significant challenges in brain health is the presence of brain tumors, which can have severe effects on a person’s well-being. Advancing Brain Tumor Treatment

Understanding Brain Tumors

Brain tumors are abnormal growths of cells within the brain or its surrounding tissues. They can be either cancerous (malignant) or non-cancerous (benign). Regardless of their nature, brain tumors can cause a range of complications depending on their location, size, and rate of growth. Common symptoms include headaches, seizures, memory problems, balance issues, and changes in behavior or personality. Additionally, the presence of a brain tumor can significantly impact a person’s overall physical and mental well-being.

The Ill Effects of Brain Tumors

Brain tumors can have devastating effects on an individual’s life. They can impair cognitive functions, limit mobility, and cause emotional distress. Moreover, the pressure exerted by the tumor on surrounding brain tissue can lead to further damage and disruption of normal brain function. If left untreated, brain tumors can result in severe disabilities, affecting a person’s ability to perform daily activities and impacting their quality of life.

Traditionally, open surgeries have been the primary treatment option for brain tumors. In these procedures, a surgeon makes an incision in the skull to access the tumor and remove it. While open surgeries have been effective in many cases, they pose several challenges and risks. The invasiveness of the procedure can lead to complications such as infections, excessive bleeding, and damage to healthy brain tissue. Additionally, the recovery period after open surgery can be lengthy, and rehabilitation may be required to regain lost functions.

In recent years, advancements in medical technology have revolutionized the treatment of brain tumors in terms of endoscopic neurosurgeries, Navigation guided neurosurgeries and non-invasive cyberknife radiosurgery.

Advancing Brain Tumor Treatment

Endoscopic brain tumor surgery –  is minimally invasive treatment procedure that allows neurosurgeons to find and treat the conditions that are deep within the brain or access them through the nose.

During this surgical method, thin tubing that transmits the video images of the brain is inserted through one or two small incisions in the skull or through an opening in the body. This tube like instrument is called an endoscope which contains a small camera that allows the neurosurgeon to see the problem area of the brain.  The ultimate goal is to remove tumour without causing damage to healthy parts of the brain. It has revolutionized the treatment method as it provides crystal clear visualization of tumour.

Endoscopic Surgery is less commonly used by the surgeons in case of treating pituitary gland tumors, skull bone tumors or those tumors that are deeply seated. This endoscopic surgery can be combined with robotic cyberknife radiation therapy for better outcomes in cases where the tumor parts are still left out after endoscopic treatment.

Navigation guided Surgeries – The image-based technology used in spinal surgery utilizes scans of the patient’s anatomy and instruments that are tracked by the Navigation System’s camera. The specialized software creates a virtual, 3-D model of the patient’s spine, essentially a digital roadmap or blueprint to help guide the surgeon. Similar to what GPS has done for geographic navigation, 3D image-guided surgery has revolutionised the complete course of neurosurgery.

Non-invasive cyberknife radiosurgery – CyberKnife System, a non-invasive robotic radiosurgery system that offers an alternative to conventional open surgeries. Cyberknife combines advanced robotics, image guidance, and computerized dose delivery to precisely target and destroy tumors with high-dose radiation while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

Advantages of Cyberknife Treatment: Compared to traditional open surgeries, CyberKnife treatment offers several significant advantages:

Non-invasiveness: CyberKnife treatment does not require incisions or anesthesia, significantly reducing the risks associated with open surgeries.

Pinpoint Accuracy: The CyberKnife System utilizes real-time imaging to track the tumor’s position and adjust the radiation beams accordingly. This precise targeting minimizes damage to healthy brain tissue, leading to better outcomes.

Shorter Recovery Time: With CyberKnife treatment, patients typically experience minimal downtime and can resume their normal activities within a few days. This contrasts with the longer recovery periods associated with open surgeries.

Versatility: The CyberKnife System can treat both benign and malignant brain tumors, as well as tumors in other parts of the body. This versatility makes it a valuable tool in comprehensive cancer care.

On World Brain Day, it is crucial to raise awareness about brain health and disability, ensuring that no one is left behind when it comes to accessing proper care. Brain tumors pose significant challenges and can have severe effects on an individual’s well-being. However, advancements in medical technology, such as the CyberKnife System, offer new hope for patients. By providing a non-invasive and highly precise treatment option, CyberKnife technology represents a breakthrough in the management of brain tumors, offering improved outcomes, shorter recovery times, and minimized damage to healthy brain tissue. Let us strive for a future where every individual, regardless of disability, has equal access to the advanced treatments that can enhance brain health and improve their quality of life.

(The author is Director – Cyberknife, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram)

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