Surgery for Metastatic Brain Tumors


We use a technology called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to map the exact location of the tumor before surgery. fMRI also allows surgeons to perform the operation while you’re awake. Both of these advances enable us to remove cancerous tissue safely and precisely.

Surgical Navigation with Frameless Stereotactic Surgery

Surgical navigation, also called frameless stereotaxy, helps us plan out your operation. It also functions as a guide during the operation itself.

With this approach, technicians attach adhesive plastic dots around your scalp before the operation begins. They then use MRI images to map the exact location of the dots as information about the position of your head is sent to a computer. In the operating room, an image is projected on a screen that is synchronized with the MRI, generating real-time information about the position of your brain and the tumor. Surgeons use the viewing wand to see the tumor’s outermost edges, increasing the likelihood that every last piece of the tumor is removed, if possible.

The benefits of this procedure include better accuracy plus the potential for a smaller incision and a shorter surgery.

MRI during Surgery

MSK neurosurgeons perform many brain surgeries in an operating room with an MRI scanner. This enhances accuracy and improves the success of your operation.

Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery

Depending on where in your head the brain tumor is located, you may be a candidate for neuroendoscopy. This is a minimally invasive surgery performed under magnification. In some cases we also use this approach to retrieve brain tissue for a biopsy.

With neuroendoscopy, your surgeon uses a smaller incision than needed for conventional surgery. Operating through this opening, he or she uses a thin tube with a powerful lens, a high-resolution video camera, and specialized surgical instruments to remove cancerous tissues.