Brain metastasis is a devastating complication of systemic malignancy that affects a considerable number of cancer patients. The appearance of brain metastases is often considered to be a sign of poor prognosis; in patients with brain metastases poor survival time has been reported in the literature. Therefore, treatment of these brain lesions in cancer patients is important for quality of life, providing local tumour control, preventing death from neurological causes, and improving survival, although potentially only in a minority of patients. Surgical resection of brain metastases has been the cornerstone treatment in select patients. Careful patient selection, the use of appropriate surgical techniques, and surgical adjuncts are the major determinants of favourable outcome in patients undergoing resection of brain metastases. In this review, we explain the role of surgical resection in the treatment of patients with brain metastases with consideration of patient selection, surgical techniques and the use of intraoperative adjuncts.