Thanks to a partnership with Pacific Neuroscience Institute (PNI), patients with brain and spine tumors can access leading-edge care, including minimally invasive surgery and targeted treatments, at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance.
“Historically, surgery would be the primary, secondary and sometimes only option for treating brain tumors,” says Walavan Sivakumar, MD, director of neurovascular surgery at PNI and director of neurosurgery at PNI–South Bay. “With advancements in technology and our understanding of the molecular makeups of these tumors, minimally invasive surgery is starting to become one of the first of many further steps, including more advanced chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and other targeted treatments. We’re no longer forced to perform major, higher-risk surgeries.”
In many cases, PNI–South Bay neurosurgeons treat malignant and benign tumors with minimally invasive “keyhole” surgeries, instead of larger craniotomies in which the skull is opened, exposing the brain.
“A keyhole surgery uses technology and anatomical expertise to make smaller openings and focus the area of surgery, allowing for smaller incisions, faster recovery times, shorter hospital stays, less pain and reduced scarring,” says Dr. Sivakumar.
In fact, many patients are discharged the morning after keyhole surgery. “We feel this is a major advancement in the surgical management of disease,” says Dr. Sivakumar, who attributes faster recovery to both the minimally invasive approach and an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocol. The PNI-ERAS protocol involves specific planning and preparation for the patient’s postsurgical needs.
“The median length of stay after traditional craniotomy for brain tumor is typically four days, with 25% of patients requiring a hospitalization of greater than seven to 10 days,” he says.
When patients recover faster, they can typically enter the next stage of treatment earlier. “The fact that they have better outcomes after surgery, they can go into these often tough scenarios of chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation therapy stronger and more physically and mentally able to handle these additional treatments,” says Dr. Sivakumar.
In addition, PNI–South Bay offers a variety of clinical trials for malignant and benign brain tumors. “Our clinical trial program compares with that of any academic medical center,” says Dr. Sivakumar. “Having access to these clinical trials has potentially life-changing implications for patients with these very difficult diseases.”
The key to success, Dr. Sivakumar says, is multidisciplinary collaboration among neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists and other specialists.
“The resources of PNI having access to providers who cover the spectrum of cancer care—including providers from City of Hope | South Bay—makes it very efficient to find the specific expertise that’s needed in any and all brain tumors,” says Dr. Sivakumar. “Imagine being able to plan your surgery while seeing your neuro-oncologist, your medical oncologist and your radiation oncologist, oftentimes at the same time and at the same place. It helps the patient get a better understanding of their disease, the specific treatments and the course of their treatments.”
For more information about treatment of brain tumors, call 844-925-094
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