At the UC Brain Tumor Center, we begin our process of helping patients with a team analysis. Our world-renowned experts in neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, neuroradiology and radiation oncology collaborate to develop treatment plans that maximize our patients’ outcomes.
Click to expand a topic below and learn more about the treatment and service offerings at the UC Brain Tumor Center:
Our team uses a variety of diagnostic tests to obtain information about a brain tumor. We perform neurological exams to check mental status and memory, cranial nerve function (sight, hearing, smell, tongue and facial movement), muscle strength, coordination, reflexes and response to pain. Some of these diagnostic tests include:
The medical and surgical management of brain tumors requires the kind of team approach that is available at the UC Brain Tumor Center. Brain Tumor Board provides ongoing collaboration among expert team members, combined with state-of-the-art technology, which ensures the best possible treatment for patients with primary or metastatic brain tumors.
The Brain Tumor Board Conference is a fascinating weekly roundtable discussion featuring about 15 different physician specialists, including representatives from neurosurgery, radiation oncology, neuro-oncology, otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, neuro-ophthalmology, endocrinology, neuropathology, neuroradiology and restorative medicine. During the conference, the cases of individual patients are presented one after another.
After developing potential individualized management plans, the team goes directly, almost seamlessly, to the Neuro-Oncology Multidisciplinary Clinic. At these clinics patients can see a neurosurgeon, a radiation oncologist, a neuro-oncologist or a nurse specially trained in patient education without ever changing exam rooms. The Multidisciplinary Clinic is an excellent value for patients who come from a five-state area, because their course of treatment may or may not mirror the diagnoses and assumptions of their referring physicians. For example, if an out-of-town neurosurgeon sends a patient to the Brain Tumor Center for potential surgery, but the center’s experts decide the patient is a candidate for radiation instead, the patient can see a radiation oncologist that day instead of being asked to make a return trip.
Patients recovering from brain tumor surgery may stay in our state-of-the-art Acuity-Adjustable Unit. The unit enables a patient to stay in a single room during recovery instead of moving from room to room. The room’s technologies, monitoring systems and intensity of nursing care adjust to the acuteness, or severity, of the patient’s condition. As the patient recovers, higher-level monitoring equipment can be rolled away. All rooms include a pull-out bed and are designed so that a family member can stay with his or her loved one around the clock. Also among the high-tech amenities is a purse-sized portable monitor. A patient who is ready for a walk down the hall can carry the device and continue to receive monitoring oversight.
When patients are facing complex surgery or diagnosis, our UC Neurocritical Care Program provides the most advanced resources, technology and expertise available anywhere in the world.
Research at the UC Brain Tumor Center leads the advance of available treatment options. Some of these include:
Radiation seeds are about the size of grains of rice. They consist of titanium casings containing low-radioactivity iodine 125. After a tumor’s removal, about 50 to 100 seeds are placed in the surgical cavity, where they remain permanently. They give an effective radiation dose over a period of six months. They continuously emit radiation during that timeframe, thus killing remaining microscopic tumor cells in the surrounding brain.
Studies performed at the University of Cincinnati have demonstrated the safety of permanent seed implants to both the patient and the surrounding environment (i.e., loved ones) and have shown their ability to control brain tumors for extended periods of time. Radiation seeds are currently used for metastatic tumors and recurrent malignant gliomas, such as glioblastoma multiforme and anaplastic astocytomas, and Grade 3 gliomas.
Chemotherapy wafers, which are about the size of a nickel, also can be placed in a surgical cavity after a tumor has been removed. They are made of a polymer that has been filled with the chemotherapy agent carmustine (BCNU).
Pioneering research at the UC Brain Tumor Center, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, revealed that the simultaneous implantation of radioactive seeds and chemotherapy wafers in patients with recurrent glioblastoma was well tolerated by patients and provided longer survival compared with the implantation of seeds or wafers alone.
A second trial, published in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, demonstrated that this strategy was not effective in patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma because of increased toxicity. Currently, the strategy of seeds and wafers is used for patients with recurrent high grade gliomas who have failed initial treatment.
Other types of treatment may include: