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Quality of Life After Brain Tumor Surgery - Life After Treatment

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Brain tumor surgery can impact a patient's everyday life in several ways. These include communication, focus, memory, and personality changes.

Written by

Dr. Kinjal Shah

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Shivpal Saini

Published At May 3, 2024
Reviewed AtMay 3, 2024

Introduction

One of the most challenging things a person may go through in life is being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Getting from a diagnosis to surgery and other treatments can be difficult.

A disease-free life, overall survival, and quality of life are some of the factors that define how well brain tumor therapies work. Patients with extracerebral tumors (meningiomas and neuromas) and low-grade glial tumors (WHO I, II) showed the most decline in quality of life right after the treatment. All included groups improved their quality of life thirty days after surgery. Patients treated for metastatic tumors showed the least improvement, whereas the group of patients operated on for meningioma and neuroblastoma showed the most recovery.

What Is Brain Tumor Surgery?

Any surgical operation done to remove or biopsy a brain tumor is referred to as "brain tumor surgery" in general. An expert in brain and spinal cord surgery, or neurosurgeon, usually performs this intricate procedure. Several forms of brain tumor surgery exist, contingent on the tumor's size, location, and kind:

  • Craniotomy: The most typical kind of surgery for brain tumors is a craniotomy. A portion of the skull must be removed to gain access to the brain. After that, the surgeon removes the tumor and fixes the skull.

  • Endoscopic Brain Tumor Surgery (Neuroendoscopy): This minimally invasive technique accesses and excises tumors in deeper brain regions using a narrow tube equipped with a camera and light. The endoscope is placed by a tiny cranial incision or occasionally through the mouth or nose.

  • Laser Ablation: Under MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) guidance, a laser beam eliminates tumor cells in a minimally invasive procedure.

  • Awake Brain Tumor Surgery: In certain circumstances, the patient may be sedated yet awake throughout surgery. This minimizes the effect on the patient's neurological skills while optimizing tumor removal by enabling doctors to map important brain processes during surgery.

Surgery for brain tumors is a significant procedure that has risks such as bleeding, infection, and harm to adjacent brain tissue.

What Is the General Recovery and Rehabilitation Time After Brain Tumor Surgery?

Depending on the size and kind of the tumor, the surgical technique utilized, and the general state of health, there are differences in the recovery period after brain tumor surgery. Following surgery, patients often stay in the hospital for three to ten days before beginning their home rehabilitation, which may take up to twelve weeks.

Rehabilitation frequently depends heavily on regaining strength, movement, and cognitive function. Depending on the specific needs, rehabilitation may entail working with speech, occupational, and physical therapists.

What Are the Common Challenges Faced by Brain Tumor Survivors?

Those who have survived a brain tumor have unique challenges after surgery and therapy. Taking a deeper look at a few of the more prevalent ones:

1. Cognitive Changes:

  • Memory Issues: Short-term memory problems, recalling specific facts, and forgetting recent occurrences are common problems.
  • Problems With Concentration: It might be difficult to stay focused for long periods and to avoid being sidetracked.
  • Slow Thinking: Reacting and processing information might take longer than before surgery.

2 Fatigue From Brain Tumors: This overwhelming, chronic fatigue can greatly interfere with day-to-day activity. Working, socializing, or simply doing simple activities might be challenging if tired.

3. Obstacles to Emotional Wellness:

  • Anxiety: It can be brought on by stress related to therapy, uncertainty about the future, and dread of recurrence.

  • Depression: Following a brain tumor diagnosis, feelings of melancholy, despair, and loss of interest in activities are typical.

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: The diagnosis and treatment of a brain tumor can be a painful event that causes avoidance behaviors, nightmares, and flashbacks.

4. Additional Difficulties:

  • Seizures: Some survivors may have seizures, depending on the location and kind of tumor.

  • Speech and Language Difficulties: These can include trouble comprehending people, needing help formulating words, or having difficulty expressing ideas clearly.

  • Motor Skills Difficulties: Problems with motor skills might include weakness, trouble balancing, or trouble synchronizing motions.

  • Vision Issues: Possible side effects include double vision, blurry vision, or loss of peripheral vision.

What Are the Strategies for Improving Quality of Life?

1. Medical Care Management: Post-surgical care is essential to maximizing quality of life. For pharmacological management, doctors may recommend drugs to treat certain issues such as fatigue, seizures, or discomfort. Maintaining general health requires efficient pain management techniques. This might entail using prescription drugs in addition to physical therapy exercises and non-traditional methods. It is critical to schedule routine check-ups with the physician to monitor the health, address new concerns immediately, and modify treatment plans as necessary.

2. Therapeutic Interventions for Improved Function: Regaining freedom and function requires rehabilitation. A customized recovery program might include:

  • Physical Therapy: Following surgery, physical therapists create exercise regimens to help patients regain strength, enhance their balance and coordination, and deal with residual physical restrictions.

  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapists support independence in everyday activities by helping patients relearn life skills and adjust to physical changes.

  • Speech Therapy: Speech therapists work with people with difficulty swallowing, speaking, or interpreting language.

  • Cognitive Rehabilitation: Therapists might offer specific exercises and techniques to improve memory, focus, and problem-solving skills.

3. Changes in Lifestyle for Holistic Health: Lifestyle changes have a major positive impact on general health and well-being:

  • Nutritious Diet: A balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides essential nutrients, which promote energy levels and general health.

  • Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity, even low-impact activities like swimming or walking, can dramatically enhance mood, energy, and cognitive performance.

  • Making Sleep Hygiene a Priority: General health needs appropriate sleep hygiene practices, such as a regular sleep schedule, a calming nighttime ritual, and enough sleep length.

  • Techniques for Stress Management: Deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation are some of the techniques that can help survivors manage their stress and anxiety, which can have a substantial negative influence on their quality of life.

4. Emotional and Mental Assistance for Resilience: Physical health is not more significant than emotional well-being. Support networks are essential. Speaking with a therapist might help to deal with the emotional difficulties that may surface following brain tumor surgery. Making connections with other individuals who have had brain tumors in these groups helps survivors learn from each other's experiences, develop a feeling of community, and get priceless emotional support. Participating in social events and keeping in touch with loved ones is crucial for mental health and can help fight feelings of loneliness.

Conclusion

Every person's path to maximize the quality of life following brain tumor surgery is different. Brain tumor survivors may have happy, purposeful lives by taking charge of their health, using evidence-based practices, and getting help. Remember that one is not traveling this route alone.

Dr. Shivpal Saini
Dr. Shivpal Saini

General Surgery

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craniotomymeningioma
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