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A 17-year-old female asked:

Hello, what is awake craniotomy?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Edward Smith
Neurology 55 years experience
Just what it says: A surgical procedure to open the skull bone is a craniotomy. Awake means the patient is awake during all, but usually only a part of the procedure. This is often done to ensure that vital areas such as speech centers are not damaged during surgery. Sometimes brain stimulation is used to detect brain tissue responsible for certain symptoms pertinent to the operation such as seizure "auras".
Dr. Jefferson Chen
Neurosurgery 35 years experience
No endotracheal tube: The key to the awake craniotomy is that there is no endotracheal administered anesthesia. The anesthesiologist performs scalp blocks to numb the scalp and gives some IV medications (ie. Presedex or propofol). The patient is able to respond to questions/follow commands/move. This is extremely valuable for the neurosurgeon trying to operate in eloquent areas of the brain and preserve function.
Dr. Chaim Colen
Dr. Chaim Colen commented
Neurosurgery 20 years experience
An awake craniotomy is commonly used when a surgeon is operating on eloquent brain, like speech areas when performing seizure surgery.
Sep 15, 2013

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