Generally, any type of brain surgery is performed by keeping patients under influence of general anesthesia. It signifies that patients are not in consciousness when the surgical procedure is being performed. Also known as ‘intraoperative brain mapping’ awake brain surgery is a latest medical intervention which can be performed while the respective patient is awake. It is most commonly used to operate patients struggling with epileptic seizures and brain tumors.
Why is Awake Brain Surgery Performed?
A general brain surgery can prove to be risky when a brain tumor or a specific area where seizures occur is present near the points which control different body movements. Such areas in brain are extremely sensitive and may adversely affect patient’s body. For instance, a brain tumor is present near the region which controls speech of an individual. Any complication during surgical removal of tumor can permanently damage patient’s speaking ability. In these cases, surgeons may take help of an awake brain surgical approach. Main objective of awake brain surgery is to retain other functions of patient’s body such as eyesight and speech. Surgeons continuously monitor patients by asking them various questions. Patient’s response helps respective surgeons to check their brain activity.
Preparing for Awake Brain Surgery
Patients need to take an appointment with a well-trained neurosurgeon to ensure successful outcomes following their awake brain surgery.
- Procedure Details – During initial consultation, respective surgeons explain patients regarding benefits and complications associated with brain awake surgery. They explain them in detail about entire surgical procedure and ask their concerns. At this moment, patients should not hesitate in asking their doubts.
- Memory Test – Neurosurgeons may refer patients to an experienced speech or language pathologist for a simple memory test. Speech pathologists mostly ask patient to recognize letters or images on a computer screen or cards. They listen to their answers carefully and note it down for future reference. Same questions are asked during surgery to analyze patient’s memory, eyesight, and overall brain activity.
Awake Brain Surgical Procedure
Awake brain surgery can be performed under the guidance of an anesthesiologist and neurosurgeon with the help of following steps.
- Numbing Medications – At first, an anesthesiologist will give essential medications to numb patient’s brain and make them sleepy. Patients are asleep only during the beginning of operation when surgeons open the skull and at the end when skull is reattached. Main operation will be performed while patient is awake and under sedation.
- Opening Skull – Once patient has fallen asleep, neurosurgeons will access their brain by opening skull carefully. Patient’s head is kept in a steady position to avoid complications and achieve a high level of precision.
- Brain Mapping – Brain mapping is a medical procedure that points out various areas of brain which control different functions. During a brain mapping procedure, 3-D images are generated with the help of magnetic resonance imaging method that enables a neurosurgeon to precisely analyze the sensitive function-controlling areas of brain. They take care of these areas and carefully remove the tumor or epileptic portion.
- Speech Pathologist Role – Speech pathologist will ask the same questions which were asked in preoperative period. It will help the neurosurgeons to know whether they are on right path or not. In this way, surgeons will remove epileptic portion or tumor without causing damage to other functions of brain. At the end, skull will be placed at appropriate position and all the incisions will be closed.
Surgeons may order an MRI scan following the operation to ensure the removal of abnormality in brain. Doctors and their team are likely to monitor patients for a few days to see any changes in their memory and functioning ability.
Risks and Complications Associated with Awake Brain Surgery
The following points convey some major risks and complications associated with an awake brain surgery.
- Loss of Blood – Patients may encounter a significant loss of blood during awake brain surgery.
- Swelling and Infection – There may arise a condition of swelling of brain or an infection at incision site following an intraoperative brain mapping Surgeons will take important measures such as providing medications to control such problems.
- Brain Damage – Even though awake brain surgery is an efficient procedure, there is still a possibility of brain damage.
- Muscle Weakness – Patient’s muscles may get weaken to a great extent over a period of time.
- Memory Problems – Patients may encounter memory-related problems such as loss of memory, confusion, and thinking disability.
These complications can be controlled smoothly by taking help of a well-versed neurosurgeon. Patients must discuss regarding such risks and complications before they sign a consent form for undergoing awake brain surgery.
Recovery Following Awake Brain Surgery
Patients will require staying in health care center for two to three days following this neurosurgery. Complete recovery may take up to twelve weeks of time interval. During this period, patients will need to take every prescribed medicine at proper time and take plenty of rest. They may return back to their normal lifestyle and be able to perform self-care routine activities within a couple of months. Patients who have undergone this neurosurgery for epileptic seizures will experience a noticeable improvement. In most cases, patients are able to live a seizure-free life. Patients who have undergone awake brain procedure for removal of a brain tumor may need additional treatments like radiation therapy if some parts of tumor still remain in brain. Otherwise, they will be completely free from brain tumor which will maximize their quality of life.
Best Benefits of Awake Brain Surgery in India with Travcure
Travcure Medical Tourism has become a renowned name in the category of excellent healthcare providers across the world. As awake brain surgery is a new feather in the cap of neurosurgery procedures, patients require a well-versed neurosurgeon for attaining beneficial results. Travcure makes sure overseas patients get a high-quality awake brain surgery under the guidance of experienced neurosurgeons in India. Awake brain surgery cost is very high in countries like Australia and United States. Travcure provides same surgery at just a fraction of the total amount charged in other nations. In addition to this, Travcure offers a free online medical consultation to international patients for understanding their requirements and helping them get the most suitable treatment packages. Health consultants at Travcure stay in contact with overseas patients during recovery phase to ensure they are in good health condition even when they go back their native land. Therefore, international patients can count on Travcure Medical Tourism for availing the best awake brain surgery in India in a hassle-free experience.
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