When talking about the delicate field of neurosurgery, you are referring to a medical discipline that deals with the diagnosing and treatment of different diseases and disorders in the brain, spinal column, spinal cord, the peripheral nerves or the extra-cranial cerebrovascular system (blood vessels supplying the brain).
As one can assume, the various treatments dealing with these organs are extremely delicate and must be performed in pin-point precision. If it is epilepsy, Parkinson’s, a brain tumor (malignant or benign), spinal disorders or other neurological conditions, it is critical the patient receives the proper medical treatment.
If a proposed solution to one’s illness is surgery, technology today allows surgeons to perform minimally invasive endoscopic surgery instead of the more traditional method of “open surgery”. With the endoscopic method, a surgeon will cause only minimal skin trauma, lowering surgery risks as well as shortening the recovery time for neurosurgery patients.
However, a problem may arise when a sick patient cannot go through the recommended treatments in order for them to heal as well as improve their quality of life. This is a situation that can occur when patients do not have adequate medical insurance (or any at all) causing the specific neurological treatment to be extremely expensive or it can also be due to long waiting lists for the specific procedure required. Either way the patient will remain untreated.
One practical solution for these obstacles is medical tourism, an option which can help patients undergo these treatments anyways. But before we take an in depth look at the medical tourism solutions for brain tumor treatments, let us address the more general question of “What is medical tourism”.
The phrase “medical tourism” (also referred to sometimes as “health travel”) describes the phenomena of patients traveling across national borders to receive healthcare. As some readers may think that medical travel is a new trend, this is not the case as it has been documented that patients have been traveling for medical treatments for centuries.
In addition to the reasons mentioned above (insurance and waiting lists), patients may also prefer traveling for surgery when there is a higher level of expertise as well as more advanced research in the specific medical field in another country, in this case the neurosurgery field. Anyhow, once a patient cannot receive proper treatment locally, they will look for a realistic option of medical treatment abroad.
Brain Tumor Treatments Abroad
Being diagnosed with a brain tumor isn’t an easy thing to go through. A malignant tumor is known to be a life-threatening growth as it will destroy normal brain cells and disrupt its function. A benign tumor, although not lethal, can lead to severe neurologic condition and can potentially cause seizures, behavioral issues, memory loss, as well as interfere with brain functions.
When the suspicion of a brain tumor arises, a biopsy (removal of a tissue sample from the tumor) is needed to confirm the diagnosis. Depending on the tumor type and stage, the recommendation for treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy as well as a combination of these three. It should be mentioned that radiation and chemotherapy are mostly used on malignant brain tumors as part of the cancer treatment regime while surgery is done both on benign and malignant tumors.
There are a number of different types of brain tumor removal surgery. A Craniotomy is the most common surgical procedure done on brain tumors today. In this procedure the surgeon will open the skull in order to have full access to the brain and remove as many tumor cells as possible.
As the medicine progresses, there are more and more minimal invasive procedures being done, preventing the need for open head surgery. One new technique is called the Neuroendoport (SM) technique, which includes an inserted tube through the skull, which creates a pathway for the endoscopic procedure, which keeps trauma to a minimum. There is an additional technique that the surgeon will access the brain through the patient’s nostril, thus avoiding skin trauma completely.
When a patient will be traveling to a foreign country for brain surgery, he or she will arrive in the hospital where they will be accepted by their attending doctor who will go over all the details of the procedure and send them for the proper preliminary tests. Surgery will be performed within a few days of the arrival followed by a recuperating period at a proper recovery facility. After the operation, the patient will of course receive specific orders from the surgeon, post-surgery medication and follow-up instructions.
The next time you hear about a brain surgery applicant that may be looking for alternative options, you can recommend the option of Medical Tourism, it may be suitable for the patient and save a life.