Brain Tumors, Spinal Tumors, and Head/Neck Tumors

If you have a head or neck tumor, your doctor may perform an angiogram to identify the blood vessels that feed your tumor. He or she can then access those blood vessels by catheter and close them off. This allows for a safer surgical excision of the tumor by minimizing the blood loss that may otherwise occur.

Some head and neck tumors are located close to major blood vessels. In those cases, Mount Sinai uses techniques that can provide the information we need to plan the safest possible surgery to remove your tumor. These techniques include minimally invasive balloon occlusion testing and embolization.

Balloon occlusion testing

Balloon occlusion testing enables us to determine whether we can safely close off an artery in anticipation of surgery. We often perform balloon occlusion testing when the tumor surrounds an artery, such as the carotid artery. Closing off the artery will shut off the blood flow during surgery, avoiding hemorrhage. However, closing off the artery can also cause stroke.

We use balloon occlusion testing to determine whether other arteries supplying blood to the brain can take over if we close a particular artery. During an angiogram, we inflate a balloon inside the vessel, temporarily blocking its blood flow. We then see whether the other arteries are able to compensate for the blocked artery. At the same time, we monitor your brain’s electrical activity and function to ensure there is no neurological decline. Information from the balloon occlusion test helps your surgeon plan the safest surgery for you.

Tumor embolization

Some tumors are fed by a network of blood vessels. Surgery on these tumors can be made safer by identifying these feeder vessels. We may be able to close these feeder vessels in order to prevent bleeding in advance of surgery,.To close (embolize) a vessel, your doctor will thread his or her way up to the targeted blood vessel using a catheter. He or she will use the catheter to deliver coils, balloons, stents, or “glues” to close up the vessel.


Contact Us

Neuroendovascular Surgery Program
Klingenstein Clinical Center, 1-North
1450 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029

Phone: 212-241-3400
Fax: 646-537-2299     

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