Brain Surgery For Children: How It Works?

By Dr. Tushar Maniar in Centre for Child Health

Apr 24 , 2023 | 3 min read

Brain surgery is a general term given to all the invasive, neurological procedure performed on patients suffering from fatal brain injury, brain tumour, spinal cord tumour, congenital brain deformity, aneurysm, clotting, epilepsy, nerve damage, fluid build up, skull fracture and brain haemorrhage. The problems can affect both adults as well as children and require specialised medical intervention. Brain surgery majorly aims at repairing the structural problems of the brain. The procedure involved and the time taken for the surgery depend upon the condition that is to be treated as well as its adversity. You can find one of the best neurology hospital in Mumbai that offers all kinds of neurological surgeries and procedures for children. Listed amongst the best brain hospitals in Indiathe hospital staff consists of highly trained and specialised paediatric neurologists who have years of experience in the field.

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Children unlike adults cannot explain their condition clearly hence the parents have to be very careful and look out for symptoms like persistent headache, frequent nose bleeding, fatigue, enlargement of head, difficulty in remembering and recalling things, memory loss, changes in eyesight, fainting, numbness in limbs etc and if your child complains of any of these, seek immediate medical help.

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The leading pediatric neurologist in Mumbai specialises in both surgical and non-surgical treatments. Since surgery can have certain associated complications, they recommend it only after making sure that there is no other way to help the child. This is done by performing certain tests and screenings. These include blood tests, physical examination, functional imaging, continuous video electroencephalogram, magnetic resonance imaging, CT scan etc.

In case of a brain or spinal cord tumours, the doctors first collect a biopsy sample to get all the possible information about the tumour and its cause. The surgery mainly aims at destroying the tumour and relieving the various symptoms. Since minors cannot take the decision on their own it is the parents who have to give the green signal. Doctors and surgeons from the best neurology hospital in Mumbai make sure that the parents are well informed about the procedure and various benefits and risks associated with it before signing the consent form.

In case of slow-growing tumours like e low-grade astrocytomas, dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumours (DNETs), ependymomas, craniopharyngiomas, gangliogliomas, and meningiomas, surgery may be followed up by sessions of radiotherapy to kill down all the unhealthy cells that were left intact during the surgery.

Children suffering from anaplastic astrocytomas or glioblastomas cannot be treated by surgery alone. They need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy before the surgery to reduce the size of the tumour. This not only helps to reduce the complications but also makes it easier for the surgeons to remove the tumour.

It should, however, be noted that if the tumour is deep within the brain or the cancer cells have spread throughout, brain surgery is not a feasible option.

A craniotomy is a very common procedure for removing brain tumours. It is carried out by making an opening in the skull. The procedure is carried out under the influence of general anaesthesia. The part of the head where the opening is to be made is shaved and an incision is made to directly access the skull which is then drilled to make an opening which is large enough for the surgeons to remove the tumour. Doctors may even use a small camera to examine the inside of the brain. This helps to give higher precision and accuracy.

Sometimes, if the tumour is soft, it can also be removed with the help of a suction device. In case of large tumours,  a probe attached to an ultrasonic aspirator can be used to break the tumour, thereby making it easier to suck it out.

One of the greatest concerns of the best doctors of Nanavati Max Hospital, while performing brain surgery on children is the possible loss of brain function. Hence doctors have to be very careful and ensure minimal damage to the surrounding tissues. After the surgery, the child will be placed under keen observation unless he's is stable. Physical activities are restricted until the child recovers completely. Such procedures can be quite traumatic so a change in behaviour is quite natural. You may consult a counsellor for the same.

Medically Reviewed

Dr. Tushar H Maniar (Head Of Department - Child Health)

Dr. Tushar H Maniar is Head of Department, Child Health and with an experience of over 32 years in the field of Paediatrics and Neonatology. He specialises in Paediatric and Neonatal Infectious Diseases, Infant & Child nutrition, Growth & Development Evaluation among others. He has secured an MD in Paediatrics from Seth G.S.Medical College and Diploma in Child Health( D.C.H.) from the CPS, Mumbai.