Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center at OU Medicine

Our center is one of the busiest brain tumor treatment centers in the nation, and can often provide treatment options to patients who other centers have told that nothing can be done for.

Unique services available for brain tumor patients include:

Awake brain surgery: Increasingly brain mapping has become the standard of care for removing malignant brain tumors, namely gliomas, from critical brain regions. This allows the surgeon to remove the tumor as aggressively as possible, while preserving brain functions such as speech, arm and leg movement, and other complex brain functions which might be invaded by tumor. These surgeries are complex, high risk and require numerous experienced specialists to perform at a high level. In many cases, these techniques have allowed us to successfully remove tumors that other centers have called "inoperable," which we believe provides these patients the best chance possible for meaningful survival. Our center is one of the most experienced centers in the nation offering this surgery, having performed more than 500 cases in the past four years. We hagve trained neurosurgeons around the world on this technique.

Skull base surgery: Tumors at the base of the skull are complex and high risk, and generally are performed at large medical centers where experienced specialists in skull base surgery can work together. These tumors can involve the brain, eye, ear, nose, face and/or spine as they straddle the junction between the brain and face. Our group of neurosurgeons, otologists, rhinologists, head and neck surgeons, and eye surgeons perform these types of surgeries several times per week. We are able to provide minimally invasive approaches for most of these patients to reduce the morbidity as much as possible.

Minimally invasive brain tumor surgery: While there are not strict definitions of what makes a brain surgery "minimally invasive," and most neurosurgeons do some procedures in a less invasive way, our philosophy is to perform every single case with the smallest possible amount of exposure and pain possible while getting the tumor out.   

Dr. Michael Sughrue is a recognized expert in minimally invasive brain tumor surgery, having performed more than 2,000 minimally invasive brain tumor cases. He has co-authored a text book in the area, has innovated and published numerous techniques in the area, and has taught courses to neurosurgeons all over the world on how to tackle complex brain tumors through less destructive surgeries.

Clinical trials for brain tumor patients: OU Medicine is a major site for numerous clinical trials of experimental therapies for brain tumors.

Radiotherapy for brain tumors: There are numerous devices available to treat brain tumors with radiation and they all have different pros and cons for different situations. At OU Medicine, we have the luxury of having one of the best collection of radiation devices in the nation, including the Gamma Knife Perfexion, the Varian Linear accelerator, modern iMRT devices, and soon proton beam radiotherapy. Thus, we have the ability to discuss the best possible way to treat a tumor, and the luxury to always treat a given tumor with the best device possible.

Find out more about the Gamma Knife Perfexion:

Multidisciplinary care: Our experience is that brain tumor care is best delivered when groups of experts discuss cases to achieve the best possible treatment for each patient. Our multidisciplinary brain tumor group meets before every clinic to ensure a plan of action which is unified and balanced, and run our clinics next to each other so that we are always on the same page. In many cases, complex patients can see all their cancer doctors on the same trip to our center, with a goal of eliminating unnecessary delays in patient care.

Second opinion service: Some brain tumors are very difficult and cannot be treated at most medial centers at the country. Often these patients are told nothing more can be done, or that their tumor is "inoperable." This is sometimes true, but often we are able to do something positive when other physicians have decided to not try. Other times we are able to offer advanced treatments not available at the initial center where the tumor was first treated.  

Our opinion is that every patient deserves for someone to at least try to help. For this reason, if you provide us your images and records we are willing to evaluate your case free of charge to see if we can offer something meaningful to help.

We can't promise to defeat your tumor, but we can promise we will try anything we can offer, even when others have given up.