Surgery at the UCSF Brain Tumor Center


Surgery is the first-line treatment for the majority of patients with brain tumors. The primary objective is to remove as much of the tumor as possible, while protecting critical brain function – this is called “maximal safe resection”.

Typically, complete surgical removal offers the best patient outcomes for long-term survival.

However, depending on the size, location, and other properties of the tumor, total resection may not be possible. Often, radiation therapy and/or medical therapy (including chemotherapy) are used as a supplement to surgery, especially to treat residual or recurrent tumors. 

Using the most advanced imaging and surgical navigation systems available, our experienced team of neurosurgeons holds expertise across a range of procedures. Some techniques, including awake surgery with brain mapping, have been developed and pioneered by UCSF neurosurgeons. Surgeon experience, among other factors, can influence the “extent of resection”, or the amount of tumor that the surgical team is able to remove. Our research team is also continuing to seek improvements in imaging systems and surgical approaches that lead to more complete, effective, and safe tumor resections. 

Specific Surgery Treatments

Select one of the following for an overview.