Surgery for Neuroblastoma: What to Expect

Surgery for Neuroblastoma: What to Expect

Neuroblastomas occurs when immature nerve cells called neuroblasts grow abnormally. Usually, most neuroblasts mature into nerve cells by the time of birth. The remaining neuroblasts typically develop into nerve tissue, but sometimes a tumor called a neuroblastoma forms.

While some types of neuroblastomas disappear on their own, many require treatment, which sometimes includes surgery. When your child requires surgical intervention, call on Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center. Dr. Abhisheik Sharma and Dr. Erik Curtis are skilled neurosurgeons who are well-versed in advanced techniques, including minimally invasive procedures that can shorten recovery times. 

Neuroblastoma basics

The reasons some children experience a neuroblastoma mutation while others don’t isn’t known. While the condition does run in families, genetic connections seem to be responsible in only a few cases. The remainder of cases are of unknown origin. 

Neuroblastomas usually form near the adrenal glands, which sit atop the kidneys. They can also occur in other locations, including the abdomen, chest, neck, and spine. Potentially, they could affect any grouping of nerve cells. 

Complications that can result if your child’s neuroblastoma isn’t treated include: 

Abdominal neuroblastoma is the most common type, producing symptoms like changes to bowel function, pain that has no obvious cause, and lumps or masses under the skin. 

What to expect from neuroblastoma surgery

The first surgery your child may face could be a biopsy to confirm that the issue is a neuroblastoma. This ensures the right treatment for their condition. Abdominal neuroblastomas can often be biopsied using minimally invasive techniques. 

The goal of surgery to remove the neuroblastoma is to remove the entire tumor whenever possible. Often, this can be accomplished and no other treatments are needed. An integral part of surgery is investigating the potential spread of cancer, usually in nearby lymph nodes. Chemotherapy may be used to treat any remaining cancer, but it’s not always necessary. Sometimes, chemotherapy is done prior to surgery to shrink larger tumors.

Follow-up care is important to ensure there’s no recurrence of cancer. This typically includes physical exams, lab tests, and diagnostic imaging, though the particulars of aftercare depend on your child’s situation. 

While there’s little you can do proactively to prevent recurrence of a neuroblastoma, maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your child, including a diet rich in fresh foods and plenty of activity, are general guidelines to minimize cancer risks. 

For a neuroblastoma consultation, contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center in Scottsdale at 602-755-3441. New patients may also choose to use the link at the top of the page. Any brush with cancer can be a stressful time. The load is easier when you partner with the experts at Atlas Neurosurgery & Spine.

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If you're looking for a neurosurgeon in the Phoenix area, contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center for the ultimate neurological care.