Surgical treatment of brain metastasis: a review

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2012 Jan;114(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2011.10.013. Epub 2011 Nov 1.


Brain metastasis is the most common intracranial tumor in adults. Currently, treatment of brain metastasis requires multidisciplinary approach tailored for each individual patient. Surgery has an indispensible role in relieving intracranial mass effect, improving neurological status and survival while providing or confirming neuropathological diagnosis with low mortality and morbidity rates. Besides the resection of a single brain metastasis in patients with accessible lesions, good functional status, and absent/controlled extracranial disease; surgery is proven to play a role in management of multiple metastases. Surgical technique has an impact on the outcome since piecemeal resection rather than en bloc resection and leaving infiltrative zone behind around resection cavity may have a negative influence on local control. Best local control of brain metastasis can be accomplished with optimal surgical resection involving current armamentarium of preoperative structural and functional imaging, intraoperative neuromonitoring, and advanced microneurosurgical techniques; followed by adjunct therapies like stereotactic radiosurgery, whole brain radiotherapy, or intracavitary therapies. Here, treatment options for brain metastasis are discussed with controversies about surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Radiosurgery
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome