How are Brain Lesions Treated?
Patients diagnosed with tumors or lesions in the brain have many questions.
There are many types of brain lesions, so no single treatment is right for all of them. Physician specialists (neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, neuro-radiologists and radiation oncologists) use a variety of treatment strategies. The type of lesion, stage of advancement, location in the brain, patient history, patient age and overall health, and other factors all affect the choice of therapies.
All approaches to treating brain lesions come with risks and benefits. Often, no single approach to therapy is enough for a given lesion – different methods can be used together. Your doctor can explain in detail the benefits and risks of each method and recommend the approach that best fits your diagnosis.
Open Surgery works well when a lesion is not too deep in the brain or too close to regions of the brain that affect critical functions like vision, thought, speech and muscle control. Surgery involves shaving the head, removing part of the skull and cutting out the diseased tissue.
Radiation Treatment kills diseased cells by altering their DNA. It can be applied to broad areas of the brain or closely focused on the lesion. Sometimes radiation may not kill the entire lesion. The majority of patients can tolerate the side effects associated with radiation, but some cannot.
Chemotherapy treats the lesion with drugs given through the bloodstream or delivered directly to the growth region. Sometimes drugs may not kill the entire lesion. The majority of patients can tolerate the side effects associated with chemotherapy, but some cannot.
Laser therapy is a new, yet proven minimally-invasive technology
that uses precise, high-intensity laser energy to destroy tissue in the brain, while limiting injury to healthy cells. It can be used with lesions in many locations in the brain, near the surface or deep inside. During the procedure, doctors use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to guide the laser device precisely to the tumor.
The procedure has been used with hundreds of patients and has been shown to be successful in reducing or removing diseased tissue. The technical name for the procedure is Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy, or LITT.