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Neuro-Oncology

UNM offers the only comprehensive multidisciplinary Neuro-Oncology Program in the State of New Mexico.  This includes treatment of both primary and metastatic brain and spine tumors.  The Neurosurgical Oncology Program includes the “UNM Multidisciplinary Brain Tumor Program” and “UNM Multidisciplinary Spine Oncology Program”.  In addition experts from all areas of cancer care meet regularly during the “Neuro-Oncology Tumor Board” to discuss complex cases and formulate a treatment plan.  When indicated the Neurosurgical team can either biopsy the tumor using state of the art stereotactic approaches or remove it if accessible with minimal risk of loss of function.  Sometimes intra operative mapping and even awake procedures are utilized to safely remove a lesion.  Primary lesions of the brain are also dealt with in the same manner.  Intra operative mapping helps maximize tumor reduction and the use of intra operative guidance with ultra sound and an intravenous fluorescent state of malignant cells that makes cells evident when a special light source is utilized on our microscope. 

When a tumor cannot be removed surgically radiosurgery offers the option of control of many lesions.  Gamma knife is a highly focused radiosurgery technology that can control or shrink most tumors with a single session as a same day procedure.  The team's expertise includes:

  • Primary and Metastatic Brain Malignancy – Stereotactic guided biopsy, surgical resection (guided by both functional mapping and awake craniotomy) and radiosurgery (Gamma Knife)
  • Primary and Metastatic Spine Malignancy – Surgical dissection and reconstruction   Focus radiosurgery with minimally invasive reconstruction.