Cancer patient's remarkable journey

Behind the surgeon's scalpel

MRI scans showing the brain before (left) and after the operation. When a mass is removed, the brain will often re-expand back to what it should be. Operating theatre nurses placing the walnut-size tumour into a container for it to be sent for biopsy
Neurosurgeon Ng Wai Hoe beginning the process of removing a tumour from Mr Oh Zhi Long's brain at Tan Tock Seng Hospital on March 28 last year. The job is a delicate one: remove too little tissue and the tumour will come back. But take out too much from the wrong spot and Mr Oh could be unable to speak, or be paralysed.ST PHOTOS: WANG HUI FEN
MRI scans showing the brain before (left) and after the operation. When a mass is removed, the brain will often re-expand back to what it should be. Operating theatre nurses placing the walnut-size tumour into a container for it to be sent for biopsy
Operating theatre nurses placing the walnut-size tumour into a container for it to be sent for biopsy. ST PHOTOS: WANG HUI FEN
MRI scans showing the brain before (left) and after the operation. When a mass is removed, the brain will often re-expand back to what it should be. Operating theatre nurses placing the walnut-size tumour into a container for it to be sent for biopsy
MRI scans showing the brain before (left) and after the operation. When a mass is removed, the brain will often re-expand back to what it should be. ST PHOTOS: WANG HUI FEN
Delving deep
Delving deep

Neurosurgeon Ng Wai Hoe reveals the considerations taken into account before and during the tough process of brain surgery

A We shave the head in the operating theatre because if you shave too early, you may nick the skin and risk an infection.

If the patient is a young woman, I will ask if she is concerned about losing her hair - for some patients, it's their main concern.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2018, with the headline 'Behind the surgeon's scalpel'. Print Edition | Subscribe