What's New in Brain Tumors?
ATLANTIC CITY — Highly advanced imaging technology now enables neurosurgeons at top centers to “map” the brain and resect tumors with less damage to critical neural pathways — both improving and extending quality of life for patients.
Dr. Arlan H. Mintz, director of Neurosurgical Oncology at Capital Health in Hopewell Township, NJ, outlined these and other advances in brain tumor treatment at the 5th Annual Capital Institute for Neurosciences Conference at the Revel in Atlantic City.
“Our goal is to maximally resect tumors while preventing injuries to the brain,” Dr. Mintz said. “What is really different now is that we can take this new imaging technology right into the operating room.”
Dr. Mintz also described awake craniotomy, in which neurosurgeons operate on patients who are awake. The neurosurgeon stimulates areas of the brain with small electrodes and asks the patient to perform small tasks.
“During the operation we see the patient talking and moving. A probe touches a part of the brain and we can tell, 'Should we go here, or here?'” Dr. Mintz explained to several hundred healthcare professionals attending the conference.
Dr. Mintz outlined other new imaging technology giving neurosurgeons greater insight into neural pathways, providing them with an unprecedented “roadmap” of the brain. The “roadmap” also guides neurosurgeons who can insert a small tube, or port, into the brain to break up and suction out a tumor with minimal damage to surrounding brain tissue.
Dr. Mintz described several previously inoperable tumors that he was able to resect at Capital Health. Dr. Mintz said the new technology cannot cure brain tumors, but can extend and improve quality of life for patients.
About 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor each year. Evidence indicates that patients live longer when more of the tumor is removed.