A malignant tumor may be removed surgically in order to prevent it from spreading. In many cases, removal of a tumor is the primary method of cancer treatment if the cancer is small.
A tumor may need to be removed if it is benign, but large enough to cause dysfunction in some part of your body. A benign tumor may also be removed if it is causing a cosmetic problem. If you were having another medical procedure, such as sinus surgery, and a tumor is found, the tumor could be removed at the same time.
Who is a Candidate for Tumor Removal?
You are a candidate for a tumor removal if you have a benign tumor that is impacting your quality of life. Most malignant tumors can also qualify you for a tumor removal procedure. In order to determine whether or not you are a candidate for a tumor removal surgery, your doctor may order some lab tests to check on your overall health. These tests may include complete blood cell counts and liver function tests. Some imaging studies may also be done. These include X-rays, ultrasound, CT, and MRI scans. These scans offer detailed information about the size and location of the tumor and which nearby organs may be impacted by the procedure.
How a Tumor Removal is Performed
The technique used by your doctor for a tumor removal procedure depends on where the tumor is located. The doctor may use imaging devices to locate the tumor. A local, regional, or general anesthetic will be used, depending on how big the tumor is and where it is located. If possible, a minimally invasive technique will be used to remove the tumor. This technique involves using a fiber optic camera to see inside of your body. Instruments with long handles are used to remove the tumor.
In some situations, only the tumor itself is removed. Some malignant tumors, such as breast cancers, often require that some of the surrounding tissue also be removed. Your doctor may also remove one or more lymph nodes located near the site of your tumor. This is done to check for signs of metastasis.
Preparing for a Tumor Removal Procedure
The way that you will need to prepare for a tumor removal procedure depends on the type and size of tumor and where it is located in or on your body. In the case of a skin tumor, no preparation may be needed. If you have a large tumor in your abdomen, you may need to start preparing for the surgery a few weeks in advance. Your doctor may advise that you stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners. You may have to avoid eating or drinking for 12 hours before your surgery. You will need to find another adult to accompany you to the tumor removal surgery if you will be undergoing general anesthesia.
What to Expect After Tumor Removal
Your recovery after a tumor removal procedure will depend on the location and size of the tumor. In the case of a tumor within your abdomen, brain, lung, or neck, you may spend several days in the hospital being cared for by a medical team. If your tumor was close to the surface, such as a squamous cell carcinoma on your skin, you may receive a few stitches to close the wound and go home on the same day.
If your tumor required testing in the pathology lab to see if it is malignant, your doctor should receive the results within a few days. You may have a follow-up visit a few days after the tumor removal. Any new results will be given to you, and the incision site will be checked. It is a good idea to have another adult at home to help care for your needs and to do the cleaning and general work around the house. You may feel tired, especially if you had general anesthesia for your tumor removal. You will need to avoid strenuous activities for about two weeks.
Depending on the results of your tumor testing, you may need additional treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation for a malignant tumor.
Exposure to Toxins
If children are exposed to certain toxins, neurologic impairments may development over time. Diagnosis can be difficult since some symptoms can be vague or possible signs of other conditions.
Coordinated and Comprehensive Care
Pediatric neurosurgery often involves the coordination of care efforts with a child’s regular doctor. This may be necessary for conditions that will likely require periodic monitoring. A pediatric neurosurgeon may also work with other specialists to put together a comprehensive long-term care plan, as may be necessary for:
- Neuromuscular diseases
- Craniofacial anomalies
- Complex seizure disorders
- Orthopedic anomalies and conditions
Neurological disorders affecting children have many potential causes and just as many possible treatment options. Some conditions like scoliosis may require minor treatment such as bracing and periodic monitoring while cerebral palsy typically requires continued care into adulthood. For this reason, pediatric neurosurgery is a dynamic and diverse field that includes a unique and personalized approach to patient care.