Before Brain Tumor Surgery

brain tumor treatment options

It’s important to remember that everyone’s brain tumor experience is different. Part of these differences come from the tumor type, tumor location, and tumor size, and all of these will affect recovery from surgery.

For some people, recovery may take a few weeks or months, while others will have to learn to adjust to manage permanent changes including not being able to work or accomplish all the tasks they had before.

Swelling of the brain (edema) is normal after surgery, but it does mean that it will take more time to experience any benefits from the tumor’s removal. Steroids are often prescribed to help manage edema, but come with their own side effects such as difficulty sleeping, overeating, sweating, and agitation. If you or your loved one make their medical team aware of these side effects, they can adjust the dose.

After the surgery, you may also experience dizzy spells or become confused about where you are and what’s happening. These episodes may come and go. You may also experience headaches after surgery, but these usually go away over time. If you have persistent headaches, or if headaches return, it is important to talk with your medical team, as they will need to be evaluated.

After surgery, you will likely need more sleep than usual as their body heals. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try to nap often during the day to help with recovery.

TUMOR TIP

Along with recovering from surgery, your loved one will receive a pathology report from their medical team. This is an analysis of a tissue sample from the tumor that is used to help with diagnosis. The medical team may, and in many cases should, also perform genetic tests on the tumor tissue to help with ensuring an accurate diagnosis and planning the best treatment possible.

After surgery, patients will receive multiple scans over time to observe the surgery site, and later, to watch for signs of recurrence (return of the tumor).

Thrombosis is the formation of blood clots from increased clotting factor in the blood. Deep vein thrombosis occurs in the legs and blocks the flow of blood, often causing pain or swelling. If a blood clot breaks loose, it can cause a pulmonary embolism (blocked blood vessels in the lungs), which should be treated immediately.