What Is It Like To Undergo Intraoperative (Awake Brain Surgery)
When undergoing Intraoperative Brain Mapping, a patient is required to stay awake during the procedure. It is helpful in removing tumours and curing epilepsy, as it helps the surgeon locate the exact place and position of a tumour and remove it effectively.
Intraoperative Brain Mapping (Awake Brain Surgery) is an advanced neurosurgical procedure used to remove brain tumours. During Awake Brain Surgery, you will remain alert and responsive at various times during the surgical removal of infiltrative brain tumours, such as Glioblastomas, Gliomas, and Brain Metastases.
Brain mapping may also be used if your surgeon is searching for the areas of the brain responsible for seizures (epilepsy). Being awake helps the surgical team locate more precisely the boundary between the tumour and the high-functioning cortical and subcortical white matter fibres, facilitating surgical removal of the tumour.
Why is It Performed?
If a tumour or section of your brain that causes seizures needs surgical removal, neurosurgeons need to be sure that they are not damaging an area of the brain that affects your language, speech and motor skills. Awake Brain Surgery allows the surgeon to know exactly which areas of your brain control those functions and avoid them.
What Happens During the Surgery?
The patient may be:
- Awake throughout the procedure: The patient will receive a nerve or scalp block, an injection to block pain, and local anesthesia.
- Sedated at the beginning and end of the procedure, while awake in the middle: The patient will receive a scalp block and a little anesthesia for sedation at the beginning of the procedure. The neuro anesthesiologist stops the sedation when the neurosurgeon is ready to remove the brain tumour. After that, the neuro anesthesiologist sedates the patient again.
If you’ve had an Awake Brain Surgery to manage epilepsy, you should see improvements in your seizures after surgery. Some people become seizure-free, while others experience fewer seizures than before. On the other hand, if you’ve had an Awake Brain Surgery to remove a tumour, the neurosurgeon will be able to remove most of the tumour, but you may still need other treatments, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy, to help destroy remaining parts of the tumour.