Complications from Image Guided Brain Surgery

Any type of major surgical procedure will have a certain number of complications that can apply to anyone going through surgery.

Typical brain surgery complications include:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Blood pressure instability
  • Infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Swelling1,2

There are other factors that can impact the risks and complications of brain surgery, such as the size and location of the brain tumor. A tumor that is located deep within the brain may have increased risks and complications. Certain areas of the brain are responsible for controlling your body functions such as coordination, vision, hearing, smell, memory, and other main functions that affect your day-to-day life. Potential damage to nerves or blood vessels that affect these areas of your brain is a risk of brain surgery.

Brain surgery can have other, less common risks as well. Your doctor will be able to discuss these potential risks with you:

  • Balance/coordination difficulties
  • Brain swelling
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Excessive fluid in the brain
  • Memory or reasoning problems
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Weakness1,2

Use of image guided surgery may help improve patient outcomes, especially for certain tumors like gliomas. In addition, surgical navigation is considered to help decrease risk of surgical error, reduce operating and hospital time and therefore potentially speed up recovery times.3 New advancements in image guidance show promising results in terms of retaining critical brain function even after brain tumor removal of tumors that are affecting primary structures like eyesight and hearing.4

3 Paleologos TS, Wadley JP, Kitchen ND, Thomas DG. Clinical utility and cost-effectiveness of interactive image-guided craniotomy: clinical comparison between conventional and image-guided meningioma surgery. Neurosug. 2000;47(1):40–48; Omay SB, Barnett GH. Surgical navigation for meningioma surgery. J Neurooncol. 2010;99(3):357–364. doi: 10.1007/s11060-010-0359-6; Maciuanas RJ. Computer-assisted neurosurgery. Clin Neurosurg. 2006;53:267–271.