Side effects of surgery for brain cancer
Below are some of the side effects you may experience after surgery for brain cancer.
Although the risk is small, you may develop an infection at the surgical site. This can usually be treated with antibiotics. A small number of people may need surgery to have the wound cleaned out.
This is a rare but serious side effect. You’ll have a CT scan or MRI the day after surgery to check for any bleeding or swelling.
Surgery can cause swelling. This swelling increases the pressure inside the skull (intracranial pressure). Your medical team will monitor the swelling and try to reduce it.
Other side effects
You may continue to feel confused and dizzy, and have speech problems, weakness and seizures. You and your family or carers may be surprised that you may feel worse than before the surgery and worry that you aren’t recovering well. These side effects are normal and often improve with time.
In some cases, people recover fully and can gradually return to their usual activities. In other cases, the tumour position or damage to surrounding brain tissue may mean that there are longer term changes to how you speak, move and think.
A range of therapies can speed up recovery or show you ways to manage any changes. These therapies are known as rehabilitation. At first, you may have some rehabilitation therapies in the hospital or in a rehabilitation facility. You may be given equipment to use at home. Once you return home, you can continue to access these therapies as an outpatient.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
A/Prof Andrew Davidson, Neurosurgeon, Macquarie University Hospital, NSW; Dr Lucy Gately, Medical Oncologist, Oncology Clinics Victoria, and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, VIC; Melissa Harrison, Allied Health Manager and Senior Neurological Physiotherapist, Advance Rehab Centre, NSW; Scott Jones, Consumer; Anne King, Neurology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Health Department, WA; Dr Toni Lindsay, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Allied Health Manager, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Elissa McVey, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Dr Claire Phillips, Deputy Director, Radiation Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC.
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