Brain Tumor: Symptoms and Treatement

Monday, March 30, 2009

By Dr. K N Krishna, Consultant Neuro Surgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals

What is a Brain Tumor

A brain tumor is a disease in which certain cells of the brain and it’s covering called the meninges grow without any control inside the brain.

Kind of Brain Tumors

There are two main types of brain tumors:

( a) Benign tumors are those tumors which generally grow slowly and do not destroy normal brain tissue. They do not generally regrow after radical surgical removal. They usually do not need radiotherapy.

( b) Malignant tumors are typically called brain cancers. These tumors can grow again after surgical removal. They are very aggressive tumors and difficult to treat them. They are basically of two types

(1)Primary brain cancer originates inside the brain.

(2) Secondary or metastatic brain cancer spreads to the brain from another cancer site in the body like lung cancer and breast cancer. This is again a very difficult tumor to treat and the tumor can regrow after treatment.

Causes of a Brain Tumor

The cause of primary brain cancer is unknown. As mentioned above, secondary brain cancers grow from a cancer elsewhere in the body.

Symptoms of Brain Tumor

The Symptoms are mainly of two types

1.Due to addition of extra mass (tumor and fluid retention) inside the skull which increases the pressure. They may be headache, vomiting, blurring of vision/double vision, vertigo

2.Due to irritation or paralysis of the part of the brain or the nerves coming after the brain resulting in seizure, weakness of one limb or one half of the body, vertigo with imbalance, buzzing sound in the ear with diminished hearing (specially one sided), pain or numbness in one half of the face, difficulty in swallowing, nasal regurgitation, change in voice, repeated aspiration into the lungs.

Diagnosis of a Brain Tumor

The doctor may ask about symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam, with particular attention to the neurologic exam such as muscle strength, co-ordination, reflexes, response to stimuli and alertness. The doctor will also look into your eyes to check for signs of brain swelling

Diagnostic Tests may include:MRI Scan a test that uses harmless (even to foetus and elderly) magnetic waves to scan the brain and nerves. CT Scan a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the brain.

Treatment For Brain Tumor

The main aim of treatment is not only to prevent further damage to the brain but also recover the functions of the brain by removal of the tumor itself and additionally by using the medication.

Medicines: The doctor prescribes medicines to reduce brain swelling (steroids), seizures (anti epileptic), etc. the latter might have to be taken for longer duration.

Craniotomy and Resection of tumor: Most of the tumor surgeries are done under general anesthesia so that the patient is relaxed and do not suffer from any pain.However in recent times certain brain tumors are removed under local anesthesia where in patient will be awake and talking but not feel the pain , this special procedure is done in such situation where the tumor is growing in close proximity to vital centers like the speech centers ,center for movement etc in the brain.

To access the brain tumor, a portion of the skull bone is delicately cut using high speed pneumatic bone dissector so that it can be replaced and fixed after the surgery. Neurosurgeons operate under high magnification and lighting by using special operating microscope and endoscopes which help in reaching various parts of the brain through narrow gaps safely without damaging the normal brain around the tumor.

In addition operative tools like operative imaging, neuronavigation, etc. help the surgeon in accurately localizing and precisely delineating the tumor from the normal structure and then remove it radically. Special equipments such as CUSA and lasers are sometimes necessary to breakdown deep routed or a difficult tumor.

Usually the patient is kept in the intensive care unit (ICU) on the night of surgery for monitoring his neurological functions closely. Next day morning he is started on oral feeds and shifted to the ward for nursing care He will be given some injections for a few days and subsequently, oral drugs started. Patient will be released from the hospital in 4-5 days and followed up in the clinic.
Stereotactic biopsy: Here, the neurosurgeon uses a MRI /CT scan images of the brain to delineate the tumor.

By using a special stereotaxy frame or Computor assisted Neuro Navigation system the tumor site is localized to an accuracy of 1mm. Thena small needle is pushed in to the tumor through the hole and a sample of tumor tissue is obtained. This tissue is sent for pathological tests to identify the tumor. This type of surgery is done for tumors located deep inside the brain or near critical areas. Depending on the pathological tests, further treatment is recommended.

How difficult is it to Treat Brain Tumor.

With advances in brain tumor surgery management, most patients with benign tumors have normal lives. Brain cancer patients have a shorter period of survival and longevity, depending on the type and location of the tumor. With early diagnosis and microsurgical medical tumor removal followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, patients even with tumors have led almost a normal life for few years. Therefore, do not overlook a headache or any other symptom of brain tumor.

DR (Prof). K.N.Krishna
M.Ch (Neuro Surgery).
Chief Consultant Neuro Surgeon
Wockhardt Hospitals,Bangalore

To schedule an appoinment with Dr K.N.Krishna,write into or log on here

Newer development in the treatment of urinary bladder cancer

Creation of Neo-urinary bladder: Newer development in the treatment of urinary bladder cancer:

Bladder cancer is one of the common cancer affecting our population. Surgical removal of the urinary bladder along with the cancer is offered as a preferred treatment option to those patients who are affected by more aggressive cancers. The urinary bladder serves as a reservoir for storage of urine, which is periodically emptied via the urethra ( the natural urine passage). Therefore after surgical removal of the bladder the surgical team has to reconstruct a passage for conveying the urine from the kidneys to outside the body.

In the neo bladder reconstruction the bladder is reconstructed using the intestine of the patient. The small intestine is reconfigured to make a spherical reservoir. This serves as a storage reservoir for the patient. The ureters, which convey urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder, are then surgically attached to drain into the neo-urinary bladder. This reservoir is then attached to the urethra. This allows the patient to hold urine without the help of any external collecting device. When the patient desires to void, he is able to pass urine via the natural urine passage.

Before the advent of this procedure urinary reconstruction after radical cystectomy would require the patient to wear an external bag to collect the urine. The neo-urinary bladder procedure allows the patient to avoid the usage of any external device thereby not altering the body image or the life style of the patient.

Long term follow-up studies have shown that this procedure does not affect the cancer cure rate and the after mild adjustment in the life style the patient can continue with normal daily activity which he was used to.

This procedure is an advanced reconstructive procedure, which requires a highly skilled and coordinated team approach. Therefore such a major reconstructive procedure can be performed only at selected uro-oncological centers. With recent acquisition of technological advances this advanced procedures are being delivered in eastern India at Wockhardt Hospital & Kidney Institute, Kolkata. Wockhardt Hospital and Kidney Institute is the only dedicated centre for Urology & Nephrology in the eastern part of India.

For an Online appointment with our Kidney Specialtist in Kolkata please log on here

This article was written by

Dr Avishek Mukherjee
Consultant – Urologist
Wockhardt Hospital & Kidney Institute

24 Hour Helpline : 98310 96761
e-mail :

Successful Motherhood After a Kidney Transplant

Successful pregnancy in kidney transplant recipients is not uncommon and worldwide about 12000 such cases have been reported. A reasonably good graft function is a prerequisite. Immunosuppressive medications must be continued throughout the pregnancy period, however safety of some of these agents is not well documented. We report successful pregnancy in one of our patients who had undergone kidney transplantation in Wockhardt Hospital & Kidney Institute four years back. To our knowledge this is the first such instance in Eastern India.

A patient of 26 years old, presented to us in July 2002 with hypertension, swelling and pallor. Investigations revealed elevated Creatinine (2.5mg %), albuminuria, microscopic hematuria. Ultrasound showed echogenic small kidneys. ANA, ANCA were negative. She was diagnosed to have Chronic Kidney Disease presumably due to glomerulonephritis. Renal biopsy was not done for confirmation as the kidneys were small and it was considered unlikely to be of any major therapeutic benefit. She was treated with antihypertensive, phosphate binders and Erythropoeitin and the family was counseled regarding the prognosis and eventual need of renal replacement therapy.

Conservative management yielded good results initially with improvement of Hb levels and stabilization of renal function. Towards the end of 2003 she again started to feel weak and serum creatinine started rising rapidly reaching values of 6.5mg% by November. The family was again counseled regarding the need for transplantation and her mother (56years) was willing to donate. She underwent preemptive renal transplantation in February 2004.

The graft kidney functioned very well in the initial period. She was on standard triple immunosuppression with Cyclosporine, Azathioprine and steroids. Serum Creatinine stabilized around 1.6mg%. Although slightly high this was attributed to the relatively older kidney of her mother. By the end of 2005 serum creatinine started creeping reaching levels of 1.9mg% and there was mild proteinuria. Cyclosporine toxicity/ Chronic Allograft Nephropathy was considered; Cyclosporine dose was reduced and Sirolimus started with improvement of graft function. She was also put on a small dose of Losartan.

In 2006 she was married with the groom fully counseled of her condition and uncertainties regarding pregnancy. They were advised barrier contraception for the time being and it was explained that pregnancy is possible in future after a change in immunosuppression. Losartan is potentially teratogenic and Sirolimus is a relatively new drug with no safety data. In fact it is not recommended in pregnancy.

She presented to us in early August 2007 with a confirmed pregnancy of 6 -7 weeks. Though this was unplanned and attributed to failure of contraception the family was extremely keen to continue as it was felt to be their best chance. Her serum Creatinine was 1.7mg%. Losartan was stopped immediately and Amlodipine was started. Although Sirolimus is not a preferred drug in pregnancy a switchover to other agents would bring in other uncertainties regarding graft function and rejection, and since drug levels were low for some time it was decided to carry on with the same regimen. It was explained that she might have to terminate the pregnancy at the slightest hint of a problem.

Fortunately the entire course of pregnancy was smooth. The normal GFR increase during pregnancy could be seen as the Serum Creatinine dropped to 1.4mg%. Serial USG studies showed normal foetal growth. On 2nd March 2008 a baby girl weighing 2.8 Kg was delivered by Caesarean section. The post operative period was uneventful and she was discharged on the third day.

This case is indeed unique in many ways. She had a preemptive (without long period on dialysis) transplantation from a closest relation (mother) which is the best possible approach. The fact that she was married after transplantation is very encouraging and the role of the society is commendable. Overall the successful pregnancy outcome indicates great progress in the science of renal transplantation and offers new hope to similar couples.

Dr Arup Ratan Dutta
Senior General & Laparoscopic Surgeon
Consultant Nephrologists
Wockhardt Hospital & Kidney Institute
111A, Rashbehari Avenue
Kolkata – 700 029
Ph: +91 33 24633320/19/18/17

Wockhardt Hospitals Kolkata Launches Booklet on "Kidney Treatements"

Wockhardt Hospitals,Kolkata recently released a booklet to generate awareness about kidney ailments, their prevention and getting the correct treatment for Nephrological diseases.

Releasing the booklet How Well Do You Know Your Kidneys? at the Press Club, well known Bengali actress and television personality Sreelekha Mitra said: "I only know drinking a lot of water helps keep our kidneys in good know Shape,I hope this booklet gives me more details. This can be a good guide for those who believe prevention is better than cure."

Each year an additional 1.50 lakh new patients of end-stage chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis or kidney transplant are added to the list of Kidney patients. in India.Out of this only 5 -7 per cent of the patients are able to get some form of treatment, while the rest die without getting any treatement to a study conducted by All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.In India one in ten people has some form of chronic kidney disease. Diabetes and hypertension are responsible for more than 60 per cent cases of chronic kidney diseas

Wockhardt Hospitals,Kolkata will initially print 4,00,000 booklets and distribute them free to patients. It will gradually print the booklet in Bengali and Hindi as well. "Those interested in acquiring a free booklet can contact our hospitals," said Shivaji Basu, Wockhardt's chief urologist.

The eight-page booklet outlines the functions of kidneys in detail, besides listing symptoms of kidney ailments and ways to treat them.


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