Metastatic Brain Tumors
Removal of Metastatic Brain Tumors in Orange County
Metastatic brain tumors is caused by cancer cells spreading (metastasizing) from another area of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic vessels to the brain. Metastatic brain tumors are always malignant (cancerous) and are five times more common than primary brain tumors.
Metastatic brain tumors commonly develop in the part of the brain called cerebral hemispheres or the cerebellum. They sometimes develop in different areas of the brain. Cancer can also spread to the spine (metastatic spine tumors). Metastatic brain tumors are aggressive and can grow rapidly, crowding or destroying brain tissues around it. Sometimes, a patient may have multiple metastatic tumors in several different areas of the brain.
Metastatic brain tumors are caused by cancer cells in the other parts of the body that spread (metastasize) through the bloodstream or lymphatic vessels to the brain. The most common types of cancer that cause metastatic brain tumors are colon cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, and kidney (renal) cancer. Metastatic brain tumors are always malignant (cancerous).
Symptoms of metastasized brain tumors depend on the size and location of the tumor in the brain because different parts of the brain control different functions. Most likely, the cells will travel to the cerebral hemisphere or the cerebellum. As metastasized brain tumor grows, it can press against normal brain tissue and increase pressure inside the skull.
Patients with metastasized brain tumors may experience the following symptoms:
- Weakness, lethargy, numbness, tingling in parts of the body
- Decreased coordination or loss of balance
- Memory loss
- Change in mood, behavior or personality
- Difficulty concentrating and solving problems
- Slur in speech
- Blurry, double or decreased vision
- Trouble speaking
- Hearing loss
The initial step in diagnosis of metastatic brain tumors is usually a physical exam. Robert Louis, MD will check for general signs of the disease and will ask about your medical history and health habits. The following tests and procedures may be required to determine whether you have metastatic brain tumors:
Neurological and visual exams- Tests are conducted to assess your mental and physical abilities, such as:
- Muscle strength
- Response to pain
Cancer test- A sample of blood, urine, or tissue is taken and measured to check levels of certain substances that may indicate the presence of cancer in other parts of the body.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan- Imaging procedure that uses X-ray camera to scan series of detailed cross-sectional images of the brain.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)- Uses radio waves and magnetic fields to produce detailed pictures of the brain. MRI is better than CT at finding metastatic brain tumors.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan- A nuclear medicine procedure that helps evaluate and reveal how body tissues and organs are functioning and identify conditions.
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)- In this procedure, a needle is inserted between two lumbar bones in the lower back to remove a sample of cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and check for cancer cells.
- Angiogram- A procedure where a contrast dye is injected into the bloodstream and x-rays are taken to examine blood vessels and blood flow in the brain and identify blockages.
- Biopsy- A procedure where a small piece of tumor tissue is removed and tested to confirm metastatic brain tumor. Biopsy can be done through surgery or using a needle inserted through a hole in the skull to collect the biopsy (stereotactic biopsy). Sometimes the primary cancer is discovered while being diagnosed with metastatic brain tumors.
Metastatic brain tumors are often treatable and can be controlled. Determining the optimal treatment plan takes a number of factors into consideration, including the patient’s preferences, general health of the patient, the type, grade, location and aggressiveness of the tumor. Robert, Louis, MD specializes in minimally invasive keyhole approaches that are highly individualized to suit every patient’s needs.
Below are the main treatments for metastatic brain tumors, used independently or in combination:
- Radiation therapy
- Minimally invasive brain surgery
Keyhole Surgical Approaches
Robert Louis specializes in minimally invasive removal of metastatic brain tumors that is proven to be safer and more effective. Less invasive keyhole surgical approaches incorporates Dr. Louis’ experience and education with cutting edge technology and instrumentation.
Supraorbital Eyebrow Craniotomy- An incision is made within the eyebrow to access metastatic brain tumors located in the front of the brain or around the pituitary gland. This procedure is also used for gliomas, meningiomas, craniopharyngiomas and other tumors near the optic nerves and pituitary gland.
Retromastoid Craniotomy- Done through an incision at the back of the ear to access the metastatic brain tumors.
Robert Louis, MD, a fellowship-trained Orange County Neurosurgeon, is the Director of the Skull Base and Pituitary Tumor Program at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Orange County, California. Dr. Louis has particular expertise in endoscopic and minimally invasive treatment of benign and malignant brain tumors, sellar and parasellar tumors and skull base tumors.
Dr. Robert Louis specializes in minimally invasive brain surgery for the treatment of metastatic brain tumors. For appointments, please call (949) 383-4185 or Contact Us.