Current treatment approaches to surgery for brain metastases

Neurosurgery. 2005 Nov;57(5 Suppl):S24-32; discusssion S1-4. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000182763.16246.60.


The role for surgical treatment of brain metastases continues to evolve. Data have demonstrated survival and quality-of-life benefits for surgical treatment of appropriate lesions in selected patients. With improvements in surgical technique, along with therapeutic improvements in the management of systemic cancers, more patients are now eligible for surgical resection. Selection of patients for surgical treatment depends on performance status, size, location, and number of brain lesions, as well as the status of systemic disease. Although surgery has traditionally been performed for patients with a single brain metastasis, an increasing number of patients with multiple brain metastases may also be treated surgically. Surgical techniques, such as image guidance, intraoperative ultrasound, functional neuronavigation, cortical mapping, and awake craniotomies, have expanded the scope of lesions that can be removed safely to optimize outcomes. Seizures, peritumoral edema, and venous thromboembolic disease all contribute significantly to surgical morbidity and mortality and thus require aggressive treatment around the time of the surgical procedure to improve the quality of life and maximize survival time.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / trends*
  • Patient Selection
  • Postoperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Preoperative Care
  • Radiosurgery
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant