Surgery for Brain Tumors at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

In this video, pediatric neuro-oncologists and neurosurgeons discuss surgery for children with brain tumors. Pediatric brain tumor patients have a particular advantage when coming to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia because of the extensive experience of our neurosurgeons and the close collaboration between neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, radiation oncology and diagnostic radiology.


Surgery for Brain Tumors at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Peter C. Phillips, MD: For a patient who has any kind of a brain tumor, coming to CHOP has a particular advantage because of the extensive experience of the neurosurgeons as well as the close interaction that goes on on a teamwork basis between neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology, and all the services that are so important in terms of putting together a team that deals with these complex problems.

N. Scott Adzick, MD: Surgical specialists can make a tremendous difference in a child's life with an operation, based on their expertise and ability. It's a little bit like being a virtuoso, and that's what a pediatric cancer operation is when properly performed.

Phillip B. Storm, Jr., MD: A great concern is always to be aggressive without being reckless. You want to remove as much tumor as you can, leaving them neurologically intact, and that's the real challenge.

Patients who have their surgery at CHOP, we always offer them the full range of adjunct therapy. If there's a treatment that we offer here, whether it be through a research protocol or the proton beam therapy, then we will try and keep them here if we think it's in their best interest. But if it's more convenient for them to be treated closer to home and they're able to get the same treatment regimen somewhere else, then the oncology team here will work very closely in coordinating a treatment plan with an outside physician. It's important for us to get the families back home.

Peter C. Phillips, MD: Referring physicians are obviously a critical component of what we do and what we need to do. Our goal under those circumstances is to make them an integral part of our communication system, that the neurosurgeons communicate directly with the outside physicians and the outside physicians have access by telephone and e-mail to most of the neuro-oncology and neurosurgery attendings.

Phillip B. Storm, Jr., MD: Every patient that comes to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, we enroll them in a study where we're going to save any tumor that's left over once the pathologists have made their diagnosis. We then send it to the tumor bank that we are pioneering here at CHOP, the goal being that if we can start personalizing these tumors by knowing what genetic abnormalities they have, we can then, again, in combination with our oncology colleagues, treat that patient for a specific genetic abnormality. And we work very closely with the scientists so, again, it's a large, collaborative relationship.

Peter C. Phillips, MD: What we do here at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is to take the best of the standard care that can be obtained and to try and advance that to the next level. So we have an obligation to push the edge of the envelope as quickly and as far as we can.

Phillip B. Storm, Jr., MD: One of the things that drew me to being a pediatric neurosurgeon is being able to work with the kids, see how they handle the surgery, and see them go through a painful and frightening operation, to then undergo often rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and then see them back with an unbelievably positive attitude. It's inspiring. It's that kind of hope that keeps you going, both as a surgeon and as a scientist.

Related Centers and Programs: Pediatric Surgical Oncology, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Program, Cancer Center