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New technologies helping to treat brain tumors

Today, thanks to the “fluorescein filter microscope”, brain tumor operations can be done without damage to healthy brain tissues. 

Brain tumors can be removed with current surgical methods, e.g. by microsurgery, which is a much better technique than those utilized in previous years. Undoubtedly, the role of modern medical technologies in this is huge. Prof. Serdar Kahraman, MD, the director of the Neurosurgery Department at Anadolu Medical Center, says that “fluorescein filter microscope” did a great job in brain tumor operations and added “by the courtesy of a medium called fluorescein, which is administered intravenously during surgery, a staining which cannot be distinguished by normal microscope, is observed particularly in the case of glial tumors. Thus, when the operation site is observed with a fluorescein filter microscope, this microscope makes it much easier to distinguish the stained tumor tissue from normal brain tissue and allows removal of only tumor tissues without damage to intact brain tissues. The older generation of filter technology cannot show bleeding during surgery, whereas fluorescein filter eliminates this disadvantage.

serdar kahraman

3D map of the brain is created. 

Prof. Serdar Kahraman continues “Another important technological instrument that enables the brain tumor to be reached from the shortest and most accurate position is “Neuronavigation”, which we can describe as matching of a patient’s pre-recorded MR images with his/her infrared camera recording data obtained from the head position fixed on the operating table. Briefly, this device actually creates a 3D map of our brain. By the courtesy of this map matched with MR images, it is possible to easily deal with even very small tumors localized in deepest regions of the brain. We can better understand the importance of the advantage of this technology, given the damage inflicted by even a few millimeters of mistake”.

Monitors that tell tumor to “go”

Prof. Serdar Kahraman emphasized that “neuromonitoring” method, which is an auxiliary technology to reduce the possibility of unwanted and unexpected damage to the brain tissues, is in use and added “If we explain it briefly, this process consists of measuring the electrical waves starting from the brain shell and ending in arms and legs throughout the operation. The responses to the small electric stimuli given from the skull are recorded from the arms and legs”.

If a reduction or loss occurs in these waves during the surgical procedure, it may not be possible to completely remove the tumor from that area of the brain. Because trying to remove the entire tumor will result in permanent paralysis, speech and vision disorders in a patient, thus leading to a great decline in his/her quality of life. For this reason, some parts of the tumor that are close to sensitive regions can be left intentionally. At this point, as we already mentioned, additional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and CyberKnife are introduced. Of course, if the neuromonitoring responses indicate that everything is in order, you go till the end and the entire tumor can also be removed. In this way, the patient’s post-operative quality of life is preserved at the highest level”.

With minimal invasive methods, quality of life increases

Prof. Serdar Kahraman says that they use minimally invasive, in other words, closed surgical methods, called “neuroendoscopy”, for some anatomical regions of the brain’s water ducts, and adds “The instrument used in this method is another feature of advanced technology for neurosurgery. The deep and sensitive areas of the brain can be reached with the aid of angled and thin cameras, and after the tumor is removed, patient heals and recovers much more rapidly. All these advanced technological devices/methods of modern medicine result in successful operations in the hands of specialists in the field so the patients’ post-operative quality of life is preserved at the highest level.”

What are the symptoms of brain tumors?

Brain tumors are mostly located in upper part of the brain in adults and in cerebellum, e.g. in the lower part of the brain, in children. Depending on their location and the amount of compression caused by them, they may have different symptoms. Since the skull is a rigid structure that cannot dilate, as the tumor mass grows, firstly, symptoms of increased intracranial pressure (ICP) would be manifested. For example, headaches, which are especially severe in the mornings, nausea and vomiting. Other findings may vary depending on the region where the tumor is located. Particularly in adults, fainting seizures, which we call late epilepsy, can be one of the first signs of tumors located close to the cortex.

 

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