Awake brain surgery

Awake brain surgery, also named awake craniotomy, is a kind of surgery done on the brain, while the person is awake and alert. This procedure is done to treat some brain problems such as brain tumours or epileptic seizures.

Awake brain surgery

If a person has a tumour in the brain where seizures develop near the areas of the brain that regulate vision, movement, or speech, then the person needs to be awake during the surgery. Your neurosurgeon may ask patient questions and check the activity in the brain as you respond.

The patient’s answers may help the surgeon to assure that he or she treats the right region of the brain requiring surgery. This procedure also decreases the risk of an injury to functional regions of the brain that could affect vision, movement or speech of a person.

Who Need’s Awake Brain Surgery?

Neurosurgeons perform this surgery to remove tumours close to the brain regulating vital functions. Awake brain surgery is performed for the patient whose tumours has spread all over the brain and do not have a border (glioma).

How Is Awake Brain Surgery Performed?

The neurosurgeon works very closely with neuro anaesthesiologists while performing awake brain surgery. The patient is given local anaesthesia that would block the pain on the scalp at the start of the surgery. The neuro anaesthesiologist would stop the anaesthesia when the surgeon is ready for the removal of the tumour. Post-procedure the patient is sedated again.

The neurosurgeon would map the brain to avert any damage to the nerve cells. Brain mapping and 3D scans of the tumour aid the surgeons to efficiently clear the tumour without hampering the working of the important body regions. Also, the neurosurgeon would ask the patients certain questions during the surgery like making movements, count numbers and identify images. This would assist the surgeon to determine the vital functional regions and stay away from them during the procedure. Post-surgery an MRI is done to confirm if the tumour is wholly removed.


When a person is diagnosed with a brain tumour, that regulates important brain functioning like limb movements, speech and other, awake brain surgery is the ideal option. This surgery supports identifying the tumour and retaining the individual's functional skills.

Awake brain surgery is recommended for patients diagnosed with gliomas located very close to the functional regions of the brain.

There are certain risks associated with awake brain surgery, and most of them improve over a period) Some of the risks include: Seizures Weak muscles Difficulty in speech Difficulty in learning Reduced coordination

The patient would be shifted to the intensive care unit for a few hours post-surgery and then stay for about 2 to 3 days in the hospital. You may usually be doing normal activities and return to work in six weeks to three months.

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