Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)

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Surgery for Glioblastoma Multiforme

There are three surgical procedures that may be performed on patients with glioblastoma multiforme. All of these are best performed by highly skilled neurosurgeons with experience in rare brain tumors.  

Surgical biopsy: The first surgery a patient may have is a biopsy, to extract a sample of the tissue to determine what it is.  Most cases of glioblastoma multiforme can be biopsied easily. 

Resection (removal): A highly skilled neurosurgeon will perform a craniotomy to remove a portion of the skull to gain access to the tumor to remove it. The goal of the surgery is to remove as much of the tumor as possible without damaging healthy brain tissue. The skill and training of the neurosurgeon is critical to how much of the tumor can be removed.   

Shunt placement/revision: A tumor may be blocking the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), leading to a buildup of pressure in the brain (hydrocephalus). A neurosurgeon can place a temporary drain, called a ventriculostomy or external ventricular drain (EVD), to relieve pressure. An internal shunt is a more permanent solution — it drains CSF into the patient’s abdomen, where it is absorbed into the body. Shunts may sometimes need to be repositioned to continue to drain effectively, which is called a shunt revision. 

At Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, our adult and pediatric neurosurgeons are highly skilled in the most advanced procedures for treating rare brain tumors like glioblastoma multiforme. Use our online form to request an appointment for an evaluation or second opinion. 

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Reviewed by: Rohan Ramakrishna, M.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: January 2015