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Open Brain Surgery With Brachytherapy For Malignant Glioma
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Open brain surgery with brachytherapy for malignant (mah-LIG-nant) glioma (gli-O-mah) is done to remove a tumor (lump) from the brain. The brain is made up of neurons that transmit and receive signals, and glial cells that support and nourish neurons. A malignant glioma forms when glial cells become cancer. The glial cancer cells grow and divide without control or order. These cancer cells often make too much tissue and affect other nearby structures in the brain. During an open brain surgery or craniotomy, you may be either asleep or awake. Caregivers will do a craniotomy by drilling a hole or removing a part of the skull to expose the brain. During the surgery, brain mapping may be done to check the activities in the different areas of the brain. These include areas of the brain used for speaking, moving, seeing, smelling, and understanding.
- Your caregiver may also need to do stereotaxy to remove your malignant glioma. In a stereotaxy, scanned images of the brain will show pictures in three-dimensional (3-D) views. During brachytherapy, radioisotopes (radioactive chemicals), sealed in a container or catheter (tube), will be placed in the area where the glioma was removed. The container, which may include a smaller catheter, seeds, balloons, or wafers, will constantly release medicine to the brain. This medicine may kill cancer cells that were left or have spread to other areas in the brain. You and your caregiver will decide if this type of surgery is right for you. With open brain surgery with brachytherapy, the malignant glioma may be removed, and the symptoms it causes relieved.
- Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
- Take your medicine as directed: Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
- Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
- Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
- Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
- Your caregivers will tell you when the sutures or staples in your head will be removed. If you have a catheter in your head, your caregiver will tell you when to come back so that it can be removed.
Eating well with cancer and cancer treatment:
Good nutrition can:
- help you feel better during treatment and decrease treatment side effects
- decrease your risk of infection
- help you have more energy and feel stronger
- help you maintain a healthy weight and heal faster
When you are allowed to bathe or shower, carefully wash the incisions with soap and water. Be gentle when cleaning your wound so the catheter in your head will not be moved or fall out. Afterwards, put on clean, new bandages. Change your bandages any time they get wet or dirty. Ask your caregivers for more information about wound and catheter care.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- You have dizziness, nausea (upset stomach), or vomiting (throwing up).
- Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery, condition, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have a fever, stiff neck, or eye pain, especially when looking directly at lights.
- You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your incision.
- You have a severe headache that does not go away, even after taking pain medicines.
- You suddenly cannot see, talk or think clearly.
- You passed out or had a seizure (convulsion).
- Your face is getting numb or you cannot move your arms or legs.
- Your symptoms come back or become worse.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
- You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.