Brain tumors. Recovery and rehabilitation.

Thanks to high-tech methods and medical equipment of the German neurosurgical centers, most patients who undergo surgery for brain cancer do not need neurological rehabilitation. As a rule, the patients who seek help from the rehabilitation centers have undergone surgery to remove a large brain tumor followed by the development of the neurological deficit.

The neurorehabilitation programs aim to achieve the best possible recovery of lost functions, prevent relapse and metastasis of the tumor in patients who have undergone surgery for brain tumors.

Brain tumor

The term “brain tumor” is used to denote the whole group of diseases based on neoplasms of the brain tissues, cerebral meninges, skull bones, cerebral blood vessels.

Brain tumors can be:

  • Primary - develop directly in the brain and its meninges
  • Metastatic (secondary) - develop due to the primary cancer processes of extracerebral localization with distant growth foci (metastases), which can also spread to the brain tissue.

Regardless of the histological structure (benign or malignant), tumors can lead to death due to the compression of the brain, if left untreated.

For other general information, see the section Central Nervous System Tumors

Symptoms, effects

The brain compression due to a growing tumor affects certain parts of the brain (regardles whether they are adjacent to or distant from the tumor). The tumor growth contributes to increased intracranial pressure and development of the cerebral edema, resulting in the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Vision disorders are especially common for pituitary adenomas.
  • Cranial nerve disorders - smell, taste, hearing, balance, movement of eyeballs. Pain or numbness in the face, paresis of the facial muscles, swallowing disorders, etc.
  • Focal symptoms:
    • impaired coordination
    • palsy
    • impaired sensitivity
    • speech disorders
    • intellectual disability and mental disorders
    • various hallucinations
    • blurred vision
    • hyperkinesis
    • pain, vegetative and hormonal disorders
  • Seizures (epileptic seizures)

Recovery and rehabilitation after surgery

When undergoing rehabilitation after the resection of tumors, especially malignant ones, it is necessary for the patients to receive medical care from chemotherapeutists and radiologists. In some cases, the early onset of chemotherapy or radiation therapy is as important and necessary as the surgery itself. Such patients continue undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy during their rehabilitation.

The diagnostic procedures, such as MRI, CT scanning, EEG are available at any time. In addition, we can involve Russian-speaking psychologists who will help to overcome psychological problems.

The peculiarity of the rehabilitation stage of treatment after brain tumor removal is maximum alertness and thorough diagnostic control aimed at prevention of tumor recurrence. The overall goal of rehabilitation is to improve the patient's ability to live a normal life in the family and in the community, even with residual effects of spinal cord dysfunction, which can be complex and multifaceted.

Even if the patient has significant neurological disorders, we can help them to adapt to disabilities or change their living space and conditions to make daily activities easier.

Early rehabilitation can prevent deep disability and return person to a normal life.

Rehabilitation is the process of achieving an optimal level of person’s social adaptation and independence by the following means:

  • Learning new skills
  • Re-learning previous skills and abilities
  • Adaptation to physical, emotional and social consequences

That is how we can help:

Using all the latest advancements available in German medicine, our multidisciplinary teams of doctors, consultants, nurses, physiotherapists, speech therapists, neuropsychologists will achieve the best possible recovery after surgery for brain tumors.

We are now going to provide a clinical example of rehabilitation in a patient with a brain tumor.

The relatives of a 53-year-old patient who underwent resection of the astrocytoma of the right frontal lobe intergrown into the corpus callosum contacted Medical Travel. In view of the prevalence of growth, the tumor was removed partially, by 85%. When the patient was admitted to the clinic, she had pronounced symptoms of the frontal lobe disorder manifested in depression, complete lack of motivation for any kind of exercise, lack of will, memory disorder and disoriented movements.

A board of doctors decided to give a course of radiation therapy to remove tumor remnants. The course of treatment and rehabilitation lasted 6 weeks. A control magnetic resonance imaging conducted after radiotherapy showed a complete absence of the tumor. From the first day of rehabilitation, the patient was accompanied by a Russian-speaking psychotherapist who managed to cope with depression and convince the patient of the need for physiotherapeutic procedures. Thanks to the provided therapeutic and rehabilitation measures, the patient has significantly improved memory, restored directed movements and her depression has completely gone. In addition, the psychotherapist conducted a course of studies with the patient’s daughter who was extremely worried about her mother's condition and therefore suffered neuropsychiatric disorder manifested as sleep disorder, loss of appetite and headaches. A short course of psychotherapy led to a complete disappearance of thses symptoms.

The rehabilitation following the surgery for brain cancer pursues not only rehabilitative goals, but also diagnostic and therapeutic nature aimed at preventing tumor recurrence.

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Causes of CNS tumors

Tumor growth is based on the cell’s damaged genetic material which leads to the disruption of its growth control. Type of genetic defect or its multiple presence defines the tumor type. Tumor process can start in any part of the brain or spinal cord.

Brain Tumor Symptoms

Clinical manifestations of CNS (central nervous system) tumors depend on their location and size. Key warning signs of a brain tumor are: Morning headache or headache which subsides after vomiting. Frequent nausea and vomiting. Vision, hearing, speech disorders. Loss of balance and gait impairment. Weakness on one of the body parts. Unusual drowsiness (sleepiness) or changed level of every day physical activity. Bizarre personality or behavioral deviations.

Prognosis for brain tumors

The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options for primary brain tumors depend on the following: Type and extent of the tumor. Possibility of surgical removal. Cancer cells after surgery (if available). Changes in the chromosomes (if available). Primary or recurrent cancer. Patient’s overall health.

Classification of brain tumors (CNS)

The modern classification of tumors of the CNS uses a dual grading system for determining the degree of malignancy. The first encodes according to the ICD -O system, where the degree of malignancy is denoted by numbers in a fraction:

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