Pediatric Brain Tumor Treatments

Brain Tumors in Children: Advanced Treatment at Fletcher Allen

We offer comprehensive treatment and therapies for children with brain tumors, using the latest technologies and minimally invasive techniques for biopsy and surgical removal. Our multi-disciplinary approach brings together specialists from different disciplines – including neurology, oncology, neurosurgery and radiology – all focused on the needs of your child and family. Meet our pediatric brain tumor team.

We are committed to personal care and work closely with you and your family through all aspects of your treatment. We want to make sure you have all the information you need to make the best decisions about your care.

Brain Tumors in Children: Team of Specialists

Treatment for brain tumors in children involves many different types of doctors who diagnose, evaluate and treat the disease. 

At Fletcher Allen you have access to highly specialized care provided by these "sub-specialists." Sub-specialists are physicians with advanced training and expertise in a particular area, and are typically found only at a tertiary, or advanced-level care centers like Fletcher Allen – the only center of this kind in Vermont.

The sub-specialists involved in treatment of brain tumors at Fletcher Allen are:

  • Pediatric oncologists – Medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in children
  • Radiation oncologists – Medical doctors with special training in the use of radiation therapy to treat cancer
  • Pediatric neurologists - Physicians with advanced training in treating neurological problems in children
  • Pediatric neurosurgeons – Pediatric neurosurgeons treat diseases and conditions affecting the brain, spine and spinal cord and the peripheral nerves – the nerves located outside the brain and spinal cord. They are surgeons with advanced, fellowship-level training in operating on the brain and nervous system in children. 
  • Neuroradiologists – Radiologists, or imaging specialists, with advanced training in neurology and imaging of the brain. They prescribe and conduct tests to assess patients’ neurological symptoms.

Meet our pediatric brain tumor team.

Treatment Options for Pediatric Brain Tumors in Vermont

Treatment for your child’s brain tumor usually involves three main options:

  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy 

Pediatric Neurosurgery at Fletcher Allen

Surgery is often the first step in treating your child’s brain tumor.

Our pediatric neurosurgeons provide the full range of surgical procedures to remove and operate on brain tumors in children. We use the latest minimally invasive, microsurgery techniques when appropriate, to minimize risk for your child.

Cutting-edge tools and techniques allow your child’s neurosurgeon to remove as much of the tumor as precisely as possible, while limiting harm to surrounding healthy tissue.

Pediatric neurosurgical procedures at Fletcher Allen include:

  • Computer-assisted surgery - By compiling images from CT scans, MRI and other imaging studies, we can create computerized, three-dimensional images of your child’s brain. Sophisticated computer mapping then allows neurosurgeons to plan the least invasive route possible to treat your child’s problem. During surgery, the computer guides the neurosurgeon to the precise target with a high degree of accuracy. This type of surgery often has a small incision and a lower risk of harm to crucial brain structures.
  • Laser microsurgery - A minimally invasive procedure that uses a laser to heat and destroy tumor cells. The procedure often uses a smaller incision, and can reduce the length of surgery and recovery time for patients.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery - Not a traditional form of surgery, this procedure involves using high doses of radiation precisely focused in a small area to kill the tumor. This may be an option for children whose tumor cannot be removed with traditional surgery.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays to destroy tumor cells and shrink tumors. The goal is to damage cancer cells and limit damage to healthy tissue.

Our doctors use different types of radiation – and different means of delivering radiation –  depending on the goals of your child’s treatment. Fletcher Allen radiation oncologists and radiation therapists use the latest technology and advanced techniques to deliver radiation with a high degree of accuracy, while limiting damage to normal brain tissue.

In addition, we strive to limit the use of radiation in young children when possible, to minimize effects on growth and development.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses medicines to kill cancer cells. It stops or slows the growth of the cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs may be administered intravenously at an outpatient clinic, or by mouth.

At Fletcher Allen, we offer the full range of medical therapies and the latest chemotherapy agents available to treat pediatric brain tumors. Your child will receive chemotherapy treatments in our modern, state-of-the-art Children’s Specialty Center, a specially designed child- and family-friendly facility.

Throughout your child’s chemotherapy treatment, your child and family will benefit from personalized, caring and knowledgeable physicians and staff all focused on the needs of your child.

Find a Fletcher Allen Health Care physician or call 802-847-4590.