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Brain Tumor

Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center offers innovative and effective treatments for benign and malignant brain tumors at the Brain Tumor Treatment Center.

Diagnosing Brain Tumors

Using sophisticated imaging technology that provides crisp, clear images of the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system, Conemaugh Physician Group - Neurosurgery can determine the size and location of a brain tumor through MRIs, CT scans, and Positron Emission Tests (PET).

Pre-Surgical Testing

Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, patients may be asked to complete additional tests that can help surgeons create a roadmap of the brain to utilize in surgery.

WADA Testing (Intracartoid Sodium Amobarital Procedure)

A WADA test may be performed before surgery to help the team determine how close the problem area is to the brain’s speech or memory centers. This critical pre-surgery information helps ensure that surgeons focus on affected areas and leave other essential areas of the brain untouched.

Balloon Occlusion Testing

Balloon Occlusion Testing is combined with brain imaging to help measure the amount of blood flowing to the brain. In about 30 minutes, the neurosurgery team can determine if one or more of the four main arteries in the brain can be temporarily or permanently blocked without affecting blood levels. Results from this brief procedure help to determine the most effective course of treatment.

To ensure appropriate and effective levels of care before, during and after surgery, the Conemaugh Neurosurgery team holds a monthly Brain Tumor Board meeting to review the progress of each patient and determine next steps.  This open and formal line of communication involves every member of a patient’s care team, providing a coordinated and comprehensive approach to brain tumor treatment.

Treatment Options

Image-guided neurosurgery and neuroendoscopy are the primary methods used for minimally invasive brain procedures, allowing the surgical team to pinpoint a lesion or tumor and its relationship to vascular structures or veins. Removing the lesion or tumor while keeping vascular structures intact significantly reduces complications and speeds the recovery process.

Tumor Fighting Therapies

Gliadel Wafer®

The Gliadel Wafer® can be used to treat certain brain tumors. Up to eight dime-sized wafers are placed at the site after the surgeon removes the tumor. The wafers dissolve over time, sending essential chemotherapy right to the tumor site. Unlike many IV-based chemotherapies, the Gliadel Wafer can cross the blood-brain barrier to reach and treat the tumor. In addition, Gliadel does not have the side effects often associated with IV-based chemotherapy treatments.

Gliasite Radiation Therapy System®

This internal radiation device is implanted at the tumor site during surgery, after the tumor has been removed. A balloon catheter is placed inside the space left by the tumor and later filled with liquid radiation. Through the catheter, the radiation reaches to the edges of the tumor cavity, targeting cancer cells that may remain. Radiation stays in the catheter for up to seven days until an appropriate dose of radiation is delivered to the site. Afterward, the liquid is removed from the catheter and the catheter is removed during a brief procedure.

Medical and Radiation Oncology

Comprehensive and patient-focused chemotherapy services are available through the Conemaugh Cancer Care Center.