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FAQ Brain Tumors > Brain tumors > My doctor has recommended and awake brain surgery, what does that entail?

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 Awake brain surgery usually refers to surgery to remove a brain tumor that is located near very functional parts of the brain. This may include those areas that control speech expression or understanding, movement of the arms or legs, or the visual areas. When operating near these areas, it can be very helpful if the patient is available to interact with the surgeon during the procedure in order to facilitate a more complete resection of the tumor. In addition, this approach can improve the safety of the procedure and reduce the likelihood of neurological deficits following the surgical resection.

Awake brain surgery is performed by a team of specialists that include a primary neurosurgeon, a specialized neurologist who is expert in neurophysiology, neurophysiological technicians, a neurocognitive specialist, and a specialized neuroanesthesiologist. This team works closely together throughout the procedure to ensure that each patient, is able to interact during the procedure, yet not experience any pain  or discomfort during the procedure. This requires a careful  balance of the anesthetic  that is given during the procedure and also the surgical procedure itself.

Prior to the procedure, most patients undergo functional mapping of the brain. This is a specialized radiographic imaging that permits the localization of speech and motor areas prior to the surgical procedure. This permits the surgeon to plot the best trajectory to remove the tumor in the safest possible fashion.

Specialist neurosurgeons who perform this procedure at UCSD include Dr. Clark Chen and Dr. Pamela Jones

Last updated on March 22, 2017 by Webmaster @ Neurosurgery