A Steady Hand for Brain Tumor Patients

Managing brain tumors are a team effort. Our internationally-recognized brain tumor specialists work side-by-side with experienced neuro-oncologists and radiation oncologists to individualize patient care. Take a look below to see the brain tumor conditions we treat.

See Some of the Conditions We Treat

  • Glioma (Glioblastoma & Astrocytoma)

    What’s the difference between a glioma, a glioblastoma, and an astrocytoma? Gliomas are tumors that arise from the brain tissue. Astrocytomas are a common subtype of gliomas and glioblastomas are the most common (and aggressive) subtype of astrocytomas.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating gliomas, glioblastomas, and astrocytomas?
    As the busiest operative brain tumor program in the United States, we operate on over 600 patients with gliomas, glioblastomas, or astrocytomas every year.


    What are the most common types of treatments for gliomas, glioblastomas, and astrocytomas?
    Typically, these tumors are first treated with maximal surgical removal, followed by a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for six weeks. Because each patient is different, our approach is always tailored to the individual and often includes comprehensive genetic testing.


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  • Metastasis

    What is metastasis?
    Metastatic brain tumors are those which are located in the brain but originated from some other organ outside the brain. Sometimes brain metastases occur in patients with a known history of cancer, and in other cases, a metastatic tumor is the first sign of a previously undetected cancer.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating metastasis?
    At least 30% of the patients we treat suffer from metastatic brain tumors, making treatment of this condition one of our core strengths. While many clinicians treat these tumors, few have access to the entire spectrum of technologies and trials developed by our brain tumor specialists.


    What are the most common types of treatments for metastasis?
    Metastatic brain tumors can be treated with a variety of therapies — some less invasive than others. From surgery to radiosurgery to targeted chemotherapy, there are many options to aggressively repel this cancer while improving your quality of life and physical well-being.


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  • Meningioma

    What is meningioma?
    Meningiomas are one of the most common brain tumors in the United States. They are typically benign tumors that grow from the lining of the brain and push inwards. Many do not need treatment, just observation, but only a brain tumor specialist can make this assessment.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating meningioma?
    As the busiest center in the United States for meningioma treatment, we perform more than 400 meningioma procedures per year, making Barrow Brain and Spine a leading center in the country.


    What are the most common types of treatments for meningioma?
    Not every meningioma needs to be treated, which is why a dedicated brain tumor specialist should guide this decision. When treatment is indicated, surgery, radiosurgery, brachytherapy, and endovascular embolization can all be part of the solution.


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  • Acoustic Neuroma

    What is acoustic neuroma?
    Also referred to as a “vestibular schwannoma,” acoustic neuromas are generally benign tumors that develop from nerves leading to the inner ear. Symptoms can include hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and facial weakness.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating acoustic neuroma?
    As the highest-volume acoustic neuroma center in the Southwest, our dedicated acoustic neuroma team of neurosurgeons and ear, nose, and throat specialists have pioneered minimally-invasive techniques to access and remove these tumors with exceptional results.


    What are the most common types of treatments for acoustic neuroma?
    Acoustic neuroma can be managed by observation, surgical removal, or radiosurgery. These solutions are tailored to the specific features of the tumor, as well as the clinical condition of the patient.


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  • Pineal Tumor

    What is a pineal tumor?
    These tumors arise within or near the pineal gland, a small organ at the center of the brain. On it’s own, this organ is relatively insignificant, but because it resides very close to other critical structures that can be compressed by the pineal tumor mass, it’s treated with great care.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating pineal tumors?
    Pineal region tumors are relatively infrequent and, thus, few neurosurgical centers have extensive experience with surgical treatment. At Barrow Brain & Spine, we operate on over 150 pineal region tumor patients per year, making us one of the most experienced centers for this condition in the United States.


    What are the most common types of treatments for pineal tumors?
    We first work toward removing the spinal fluid buildup that can occur in the brain (also known as hydrocephalus), as associated with this tumor type. Once we’ve addressed this immediate concern, we decide on the best course of tumor removal, as this allows us to fully assess the situation and do what’s right and most appropriate for the patient.


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  • Ependymoma

    What is an ependymoma?
    These low-grade tumors arise within fluid-filled spaces of the brain (i.e., ventricles) and can obstruct the normal flow of spinal fluid, as well as induce symptoms through mass effect (in essence, the tumor growth displaces surrounding tissue). In some cases, ependymomas can become aggressive.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating ependymomas?
    As the highest-volume operative brain tumor center in the United States, Barrow Brain and Spine operates on more adult ependymoma patients than anywhere else.


    What are the most common types of treatments for ependymomas?
    For many patients, surgical removal can provide a long-term solution for their ependymoma. In more complex cases, a combination of surgery and targeted radiotherapy is necessary.


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See the Procedures We Offer

  • Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery

    What is minimally invasive brain surgery?
    Treating complex brain conditions is safer and more efficient than ever before, due to advancements in technology. Minimally invasive surgery uses small incisions in the scalp and skull to access the brain. Small tools are inserted through these incisions and are guided using real-time video imaging technology. Minimally invasive surgery can precisely isolate and target only the unhealthy portions of the brain.


    How experienced is the team with minimally invasive techniques?
    As pioneers of minimally invasive neurosurgery techniques, our team has published hundreds of reports that neurosurgeons from around the world rely upon for guidance. In this respect, minimally invasive approaches to brain tumor surgery at Barrow set the standards for the field.


    What is the estimated recovery time?
    Every patient is different, but in most cases, those undergoing minimally invasive brain surgery are able to go home within 24-48 hours of their operation.


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  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (Gamma Knife® and CyberKnife® Radiosurgery)

    What is stereotactic radiosurgery?
    Radiosurgery is a non-invasive procedure that uses targeted radiation to eradicate tumors in the brain. Our team works with radiation oncologists at Barrow Neurological Institute to treat a variety of brain disorders with this technology, including benign and malignant tumors.


    Radiosurgery uses hundreds of different beams of radiation to target abnormal cells in the brain. On their own, each of these beams is too weak to damage healthy tissue, but when the beams converge at a focal point, they are able to safely treat diseased tissue.


    How experienced is the team with stereotactic radiosurgery?
    Each year, we perform more than 300 stereotactic radiosurgeries, making us one of the 10 busiest radiosurgical treatment centers in the United States.


    What is the estimated recovery time?
    Radiosurgery is an outpatient procedure that does not require general anesthesia. In most cases, only a single treatment is necessary and the patient goes home by lunchtime.


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  • Laser Thermal Ablation Surgery

    What is laser thermal ablation surgery?
    During laser ablation, a microscopic probe is inserted through a small opening in the skull to precisely target abnormal growths within the brain. Used in combination with intraoperative MRI imaging, laser thermal ablation is highly accurate, minimally invasive, and limits the risk to surrounding healthy tissue.


    How experienced is the team with laser thermal ablation surgery?
    As one of the pioneers of laser thermal ablation, Barrow Brain and Spine is the only center in the United States with extensive experience using both of the existing FDA-approved systems for laser thermal ablation.


    What is the estimated recovery time?
    In general, patients can expect to be released from the hospital after a 24-hour stay. Every situation varies, but because this is a minimally-invasive approach, it results in a quicker recovery than many other conventional brain tumor procedures.


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  • Brachytherapy

    What is brachytherapy?
    Brachytherapy enables internal radiation therapy, placing tiny radioactive seeds into the cavity following brain tumor removal. Once in place, these biodegradable seeds target any residual microscopic disease without harming normal tissue nearby. The seeds dissipate on their own over several weeks, allowing the patient to avoid external radiotherapy.


    How experienced is the team with brachytherapy?
    At Barrow Brain and Spine, our team has pioneered many new techniques to deliver brachytherapy for brain tumor patients. More than 50 patients receive this cutting-edge treatment at our facility each year.


    What is the estimated recovery time?
    Once brachytherapy seeds are placed, no further radiation therapy is required and patients can go home safely after they have recovered from their tumor surgery, which ranges from 1-4 days.


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  • Intraoperative Stimulation Mapping

    What is intraoperative stimulation mapping?
    This surgical technique enables the brain tumor specialist to stimulate parts of the brain during surgery to identify each patient’s individual brain organization and safely avoid critical pathways that, if disrupted, could lead to language dysfunction and/or paralysis. In select cases, patients are comfortably awake for a portion of the procedure in order to participate in language testing.


    How experienced is the Barrow team intraoperative language and motor mapping?
    As one of the five busiest intraoperative stimulation mapping programs in the United States, Barrow Brain & Spine conducts nearly 100 mapping cases per year.


    What is the estimated recovery time?
    Intraoperative stimulation mapping techniques are used during the course of complex brain tumor operations in critical locations. Recovery time varies, but most patients are discharged within 48-72 hours.


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  • Clinical Trials

    In partnership with Barrow Neurological Institute, Barrow Brain and Spine is a national leader in developing brain tumor clinical trials, giving our patients access to some of the most important scientific discoveries each year. The Director of our Brain Tumor Program, Dr. Nader Sanai, leads our Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center and has developed the largest early-phase clinical trial programs in the United States for patients with gliomas, brain metastases, and meningiomas.


    Visit the Barrow Neurological Institute to see what brain tumor trials are currently available.

Don't See Your Condition or Procedure?

The conditions and procedures listed on this page only represent a small portion of what we treat. If you don't see the specific condition you're looking for, please contact our Patient Navigator for additional information.

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