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Know About Awake Brain Surgery
General Surgery

Know About Awake Brain Surgery

Know About Awake Brain Surgery Sep 30, 2023

Awake brain surgery also called an awake craniotomy, is a type of procedure performed on the brain while you are awake and alert. Awake brain surgery is used to treat some brain (neurological) conditions, including some brain tumours or epileptic seizures.

If your tumour or the area of your brain where your seizures occur (epileptic focus) is near the parts of your brain that control vision, movement, or speech, you may need to be awake during surgery. Your surgeon may ask you questions and monitor the activity in your brain as you respond.

Your responses help your surgeon to ensure that he or she treats the correct area of your brain needing surgery. The procedure also lowers the risk of damage to functional areas of your brain that could affect your vision, movement, or speech.

If a tumour or section of your brain that causes seizures needs surgical removal, doctors must be sure that they are not damaging an area of the brain that affects your language, speech, and motor skills.

It's difficult to pinpoint those areas exactly before surgery. Awake brain surgery allows the surgeon to know exactly which areas of your brain control those functions and avoid them.

Doctors first will determine if awake brain surgery is the right choice for you. Doctors will also explain what you can expect during the procedure and the benefits and risks of awake brain surgery.

Awake brain surgery offers many advantages. People who have brain tumours or seizure centres (epileptic foci) near functional brain tissue, whose conditions were once thought inoperable, may consider awake brain surgery to reduce complications and the risk of damage to functional brain tissue.

Awake brain surgery may help safely reduce the size of growing brain tumours, which may prolong life and improve quality of life.

As with any brain surgery, awake brain surgery has the potential for risks and complications. These include bleeding, brain swelling, infection, brain damage or death.

Other surgical complications may include seizures, muscle weakness, and problems with memory and thinking.

Before surgery, your neurosurgeon or a speech-language pathologist may ask you to identify pictures and words on cards or on a computer so that your answers can be compared during surgery.


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