only early MRI can save vision and life, warn Neurosurgeons
When Sundar from Meerut was presented with bouts of severe headache with vomiting and increasing problem in his vision, Dr Rahul Gupta, Additional Director, Department of Neurosurgery, Fortis Hospital, Noida immediately advised him to go through an MRI test. The MRI reports confirmed the doctor’s suspicions. Sundar was suffering from brain tumor. Fortunately for the patient, the confirmation of brain tumor came at an early stage of the disease and could be treated by a minimal invasive surgical procedure known as the Endoscopic Trans Nasal surgery. This surgical procedure is not conducted in Meerut and often patients seek skilled and expert neurosurgeons in cities close to their town. Dr Gupta has treated two such cases, both from Meerut, the other patient being Kalawati, a female.
The Endoscopic Trans Nasal surgical procedure is a scar less and a very safe surgical procedure. This is a minimally invasive technique used in neurosurgery. This requires high level of expertise and precision, and is usually conducted by an experienced and skilled neurosurgeon. A neurosurgeon uses an endoscope that is entered through the nose to fix or remove brain defects or tumors in the front side of skull base. This is performed with a small incision at the back of the nasal cavity causing little disruption of the nasal tissues. Once the pituitary is exposed, the neurosurgeon removes the tumor. This surgical option has also been proven to be safe, effective, and recommended.
Dr Rahul Gupta, Additional Director, Department of Neuro-surgery, Fortis Hospital Noida says, “The most important thing to do in cases of brain tumors is to get a MRI test conducted which confirms the medical problem. The first symptoms in patients with brain tumors are bouts of headache with vomiting, increasing vision loss, draining of fluid from the nose for no reason and gigantism. In females, this can also be combined with irregular menstruation or long periods of no menses and unprecedented white discharge from the breasts. Generally, patients approach a physician, endocrinologists or an ophthalmologist to treat their general well-being, over largeness to their body parts or their failing vision. The women often approach a gynecologist for hormonal treatment assuming that menses problem may be due to hormonal imbalances. When the problems persist and the vision starts failing badly, it is sometimes too late because all this time the tumor has not only gone undetected but also increased in size. While the tumor can still be removed successfully, 50% of the patients in late stages of the disease often lose their vision.”
The crude incidence of primary brain tumor in India is 3.4 per 100,000 populations for males and 1.2 per 100,000 populations for females. There has been a steady increase in the incidence of brain tumors over the last decade or so primarily due to higher detection rates due to more widespread availability of diagnostic imaging. This figure is set to grow to 1.7 million new cases by 2030 simply due to the growth and ageing of the global population.
Dr Rahul Gupta says, “We treat about 10 – 12 patients with brain tumors every month. Out of these we get 2 -3 patients every month with tumor located in the pituitary gland. The Endoscopic Trans Nasal surgery is conducted using a key-hole approach. No visible incision is made and there are safe methods applied during the surgery. A small thin bone behind the eyes is perforated to reach the tumor which is located in the pituitary gland behind the eyes and below the front of the brain. The patient may require a maximum of five days stay in the hospital but goes back treated without any scars.”
Dr Gupta reveals that there are no causes determining factors for contracting brain tumor in patients. Anybody can be afflicted by brain tumors. The most important thing is awareness of the disease and the symptoms associated with it. Prolonged symptoms without appropriate treatment lead to enlargement of the tumor. The increased size begins to compress the optical nerves resulting in total loss of vision. However, this can be reversed in some cases where the damage is not significant. Lack of awareness of any medical conditions or the symptoms that require immediate and urgent attention often results in irreversible deterioration. The need of the hour is taking an MRI and also to ensure that you reach the right specialist and get appropriate treatment on time.
Some research reveals that prior exposure to brain radiation is the most solid risk factor for developing a primary brain tumor. In some cases hereditary factors are linked to certain rare genetic conditions with an increased risk of brain tumor development. But in most cases the cause is not known.