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The neurosurgical operating rooms at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center are among the most technologically advanced in the world. We use the best available technology, some of which has been developed by our own neurosurgeons, to carry out minimally invasive brain tumor surgeries.
Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery at the UCLA Brain Tumor Center
We use minimally invasive techniques whenever we can, as long as they help us achieve similar results (or better) when compared with conventional open surgery. We’re proud to offer a comprehensive range of minimally invasive techniques, some of which are only available in a few centers across the country.
Minimally invasive procedures at UCLA include:
Stereotactic Laser Ablation
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided technology, stereotactic laser ablation works by destroying tumors with laser light. Experts at UCLA recently adapted existing laser technology to make this treatment available for brain tumor patients. We’re among the handful of centers in California offering it.
Stereotactic laser ablation is an ideal treatment for deep-seated tumors we cannot reach with traditional surgical techniques. Even if other treatments such as radiation oncology have not been successful, we may be able to remove the tumor using ablation.
Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Surgery
UCLA neurosurgeons pioneered the field of minimally invasive endoscopic brain tumor surgery. We perform more than 100 endoscopic procedures each year.
Endoscopic surgery uses a flexible tube (endoscope) with a light and camera attached to it and special instruments to access your internal organs through a small incision or natural body opening, such as your nose. We commonly use this technique to remove pituitary tumors.
Our recent efforts include new approaches that help us more accurately see the tumor during surgery. Using specialized endoscopes with high-resolution video cameras, we perform surgeries with improved accuracy. Doing so helps us completely remove the tumor and preserve surrounding tissue. Learn more about endoscopic endonasal surgery at UCLA.
A keyhole craniotomy is an endoscopic technique for accessing tumors using a narrow incision roughly the size and shape of a keyhole. Endoscopic surgery uses a flexible tube (endoscope) with a light and camera attached to it and special instruments to access internal organs through a small incision.
We perform keyhole craniotomy procedures in our dedicated intraoperative MRI suite. This first-of-its-kind operating suite features a dedicated 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. This equipment allows us to carry out your procedure with a high degree of precision.
We often place keyhole incisions in the eyebrow. We typically use this approach for pituitary tumors, but we may also use it for other tumors located near the front of your brain.
Minimally Invasive Surgery for Brain Tumors at UCLA
At UCLA, specially trained neurosurgeons perform brain tumor procedures using the most sophisticated minimally invasive techniques.
Benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:
- Safety: Minimally invasive surgery requires a very small incision or no incision at all. It’s also possible to minimize or avoid having large portions of your skull removed (craniotomy). Doing so lowers your risk for complications, such as infections.
- Care continuity: With open surgery, you may need to stop other cancer treatments because they can affect wound healing. With a minimally invasive procedure, you continue these treatments without any disruption.
Your eligibility for a minimally invasive procedure depends on the size, type and location of the tumor. As with any treatment decision, our experts use a team approach to determine what’s best for your unique needs. Meet our team.