A craniotomy is the most common operation for brain cancer. Your surgical team will remove as much of the tumor as they can without damaging other areas of your brain. How much of the tumor they can remove depends on the type of tumor you have, where it is located and how far it has spread.
At the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, our surgeons use magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) scans to see inside the brain while they are operating. This helps them do brain surgery more accurately and avoid damaging healthy tissue.
Even if surgery removes most of the tumor, some microscopic cancer cells will be left behind. Surgery does not cure most brain cancers, except for certain benign tumors such as meningioma and acoustic neuroma. After surgery, you will need additional treatment, such as chemotherapy (medical therapy) or radiation.
If you have more than one brain tumor, you probably will not have surgery except for a biopsy, a small sample of tissue used to tell your healthcare team what type of brain cancer is present.
Some tumors are located in areas of the brain where surgery is not safe. If this happens, your doctor will diagnose the tumor based on the results of imaging tests, your physical examination and other information. If surgery is not possible, you might still have radiation or chemotherapy.