At Mount Sinai’s Department of Neurosurgery, patients diagnosed with brain tumors and meningiomas are provided with an array of treatment options based on their individual case. One of those treatment options includes a traditional approach to removing these growths, called a craniotomy.
Our skilled neurosurgeons use innovative technologies such as intraoperative monitoring and neuronavigation devices to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor and the best surgical trajectory for safe removal.
“We have a very talented multidisciplinary team of neurosurgeons and ear, nose, and throat specialists with vast experience in performing highly-successful craniotomies,” said Joshua Bederson, MD, Chair and Professor of Neurosurgery at The Mount Sinai Hospital.
Conditions Treated with Craniotomy
Mount Sinai has expertise in treating benign and malignant tumors in the skull with craniotomy, including:
- Acoustic neuroma
- Head and neck cancers
- Glomus jugulare tumors
- Metastatic tumors
In addition to removing brain tumors, craniotomies can be performed to treat the following:
- Blood vessel problems with the brain
- Brain infection
- Brain injuries, such as aneurysm
- Brain swelling
- Nerve disorders
Cutting-Edge Technology for Safe Removal of Brain Tumors
A craniotomy is a surgical procedure that removes a portion of the skull to access the brain, typically with the goal of excising a brain tumor. The procedure is broken down into three parts: approach, resection, and reconstruction.
During the approach phase, our neurosurgeons use 3D magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and brain mapping technology to identify the precise location of the tumor. These sophisticated tools also help to navigate around critical blood vessels and other structures in the brain, so that injury is avoided during a procedure. This information is registered to the patient and to the instruments used during the surgery.
A brain mapping team is also present during the procedure. They place electrodes on the surface of the skin and apply tiny electrical impulses as a way to monitor the brain. This is another safety layer to prevent neurological damage during the procedure.
Under general anesthesia, several holes are made into the patient’s scalp, in the exact area where the tumor is located. The bone is removed, and the dura, or the thick membrane covering the brain, is exposed. Another incision is made to the dura, in the shape of an “X” so that the flaps can be stitched together following the resection.
Sometimes, these growths are located on the surface of the brain, making resection less challenging. Others are located on the underside of the brain, requiring more of a skull base approach. Our neurosurgeons have the expertise and sophisticated technology to remove these hard-to-reach tumors.
Once our neurosurgeons navigate successfully to the tumor, they may remove it partially or entirely. This depends on the critical areas surrounding it. If the growth is only partially removed, the rest of the lesion can be treated with stereotactic radiosurgery.
In a few cases, our neurosurgeons might perform an awake-craniotomy, in which the patient will be awoken for part of the procedure, to perform a neurological check.
Following the removal of the tumor, our team of experienced neurosurgeons will reconstruct any area of the brain, dura, or scalp affected during surgery.
For tumors that are closer to the head and neck and require more of a skull base approach (where more bone drilling is involved), reconstruction will require the additional expertise of head and neck surgeons.
The overall procedure can take anywhere from three to seven hours.
As a full-service medical center, our neurosurgeons have access to a wide array of specialists throughout Mount Sinai to ensure patients receive the best of care following a craniotomy.
Department of Neurosurgery
1468 Madison Avenue
Annenberg Building 8th floor
New York, NY 10029-6574