QUESTIONS TO ASK THE NEUROSURGEON
- What is the name of my tumor? Write it down for me.
- Is there any connection between my tumor and my symptoms? Why or why not?
- Where exactly is my tumor located and what symptoms could I have in the future if it grows?
- How large is my tumor? Is the tumor growing?
- What cranial nerves and parts of the brain are affected?
- Is surgery the only option? Or can I wait and watch it for awhile?
- What if I decide to wait and watch? What is the risk and problems with waiting?
- What are the benefits of having surgery? What symptoms will go away? What will not go away?
- What are the risks or complications?
- What nerves/structures could be traumatized/damaged during surgery?
- How long would I be in surgery?
- Where will my incision be?
- Do you expect to be able to remove the entire tumor, most of it or simply debulk?
(This is especially important because when the tumor isn’t removed totally it has the tendency to grow back. The epidermoid is “sticky”. Debulked means suctioning out the contents and leaving the living, growing outer sac, it WILL regrow in weeks, months or years).
2. Are you doing the surgery or residents? Are you able to remove it from the nerves and brain and not damage them?
3. How many epidermoids have you operated on this last year?
4. How many surgeries have you done in my area of the brain in the last month?
5. What outcomes have you had with epidermoid tumors? Complication rate? (Meningitis, CSF leaks, hydrocephalus, brain bleeds or stroke, shunts placed, patients on disability, how many tumors have re-occurred?) Deaths?
6. Are you board certified? Are you a skull based surgeon? Do you work with another surgeon?
- How long will I be in the Hospital?
- How long will I need help at home? When can I drive?
- When could I expect to return to work?
- What symptoms will I have after surgery? How long will they last?
- What symptoms necessitate a call to your office or a trip to the ER?
- Who will handle my post op symptoms when I return home–will you work with my hometown doctor?
- Will there medication afterward? Steroids? Pain medication?
- Are there any limitations (i.e. stairs, bending over, straining, heavy exercise, sexual activity) that can elevate the fluid levels around the brain and contribute to leaks?
- When do you see me for follow up? When are stitches removed?
- How do I keep my incision clean? Antibiotic ointment OK?
- Tell them about epidermoid brain tumor society.org