The brain is an extremely complex organ. Brain surgery is a procedure to treat problems in the brain and surrounding structures. Our team of neurosurgeons and healthcare professionals at Winchester Medical Center possess the skill and expertise necessary, in addition to state of the art technology, to treat patients with a wide variety of disorders requiring brain surgery from diagnosis through rehabilitation. Conditions that may require brain surgery provided at Winchester Medical Center include brain tumor, subdural hematoma (blood clot), traumatic brain injury, brain abscess, cerebral aneurysm, intractable epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, intentional tremors, and hydrocephalus.
The procedure used in most traditional brain surgeries is called a craniotomy. Before surgery, the hair on part of the scalp may be shaved and the area is cleaned. The neurosurgeon makes a surgical incision (cut) through the scalp. The location and size of the incision depends on the type of condition that is being treated. The surgeon creates a hole in the skull and removes a piece, called a bone flap. After the surgeon has taken care of the condition requiring surgery, the bone flap is placed back over the brain tissue and secured. The scalp is usually repaired with surgical staples and a dressing is applied. Advances in technology have improved craniotomy procedures allowing neurosurgeons to use endoscopes and brain imaging techniques in the operating room. These procedures may be less invasive and are more precise in treating complex disorders of the brain.
Our team provides compassionate surgical services for patients diagnosed with primary and metastatic brain tumors, including gliomas, glioblastoma, meningiomas, metastatic tumors, pituitary tumors, and acoustic neuromas. Using intraoperative brain mapping techniques we are able to remove brain tumors in the safest manner possible. Otherwise “inoperable” tumors in highly eloquent areas of the brain can even be removed safely with an awake craniotomy.
Winchester Medical Center has expanded its cancer program with the addition of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), offered in partnership with University of Virginia Health System, providing a minimally invasive alternative or adjunct treatment to many brain tumors. WMC’s partnership with UVA Health System offers clinical and patient care advantages. By collaborating with nationally recognized leaders in stereotactic radiosurgery, this advanced non-surgical technology is available locally for patients who in the past would have had to travel out of the area for treatment.
Radiosurgery delivers large doses of precisely-targeted radiation to small tumors once considered untouchable, sparing critical and healthy brain tissue. SRS works in the same way as other forms of radiation treatment, destroying cancer cells and causing tumors to shrink.
A radiation oncologist and a neurosurgeon oversee stereotactic procedures. Patients receive treatment in the WMC Radiation Therapy Department. Treatment of cranial or extra-cranial tumors requires a specially-fitted face mask or frame to immobilize and carefully position the patient’s head. Four-dimensional CT imaging, which captures the location of a tumor as well as its movement, helps the radiation oncologist, physicist and other staff plan accurate treatment. A robotic couch facilitates delivery of the targeted high-energy radiation beams from different angles.
Each treatment usually takes 30-60 minutes. Patients may have a single treatment or multiple treatments (up to five) over time.