One of the common methods of dealing with brain tumors is the surgical removal of the tumor. There are two types of brain tumors that are encountered:
- Malignant tumor – one that contains cancerous cells which spread
- Benign tumor – one that does not contain cancerous cells and grows slowly
Unlike malignant tumors, benign ones do not recur after surgical removal. The first line of treatment for most brain tumors is the surgery and removal of the cancerous tissue. Based on the type of brain tumor, side effects after surgery can range from moderate to severe as follows:
Infections are the main complications of any surgery and brain surgery is one among them. During and post surgery, infections are a big threat to those undergoing surgery for brain tumor. Even the skull can get infected as a hole has to be made to reach the tumor inside the brain. Though utmost care is taken to prevent any chance of infection, bacteria may still attack, in which case antibiotic treatment is administered.
Another side-effect of a brain surgery can be internal bleeding. Intracranial or intracerebral hemorrhage can occur where blood can pool inside the brain leading to serious consequences such as coma or death. Hence post operative monitoring is an important aspect of brain tumor surgery.
This side-effect is more of a symptom than a condition. It is the result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It can occur soon after the surgery or many years later. The former is directly related to the surgery procedure whereas the latter is diagnosed as epilepsy, and a side-effect. This can result due to the abnormal nerve connections that can happen after the surgery. Most of them can be treated by medication, while a quarter of them cannot be relieved and remain a lifelong side effect of the surgery.
A stroke is a medical condition characterized by a sudden obstruction to the flow of blood within the brain. Surgical removal of tumor may be one of the causes of this condition. It could be due to a ruptured or blocked blood vessel. In both cases the region of the brain that is supplied by the blood vessel is unable to receive the oxygen and other vital ingredients that blood supplies, causing death of brain cells. Longer the blockage, larger is the damage to the brain cells. It can cause temporary to permanent changes in vision, speech or movement.
Brain is a very vital organ of our body and brain tumor side effects after surgery are more frequent than perceived. Most part of the post operative care focuses on preventing any of these complications and side-effects. Hence continuous monitoring of the patient is an essential aspect of the brain tumor surgery.