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Musician Plays Saxophone While Undergoing 9-Hour Long Surgery for Brain Cancer

By Andrew Alpin, 18 November 2022

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3 What is Awake Surgery?

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Awake surgery is a type of surgery on the brain that is done while you are awake and fully conscious. This surgery is also known as “Awake craniotomy.” Some brain (neurological) problems, such as certain brain tumors or epileptic seizures, can be fixed with awake brain surgery.

If your tumor or the part of your brain where your seizures start (called the epileptic focus) is close to the parts of your brain that control your vision, movement, or speech, you may need to be awake during surgery. Your surgeon might ask you questions and monitor how your brain’s activities as you answer.

Your answers help your surgeon make sure that they are operating on the right part of your brain. The procedure also reduces the chances of parts of your brain being damaged in the process, especially those parts responsible for functions that help you see, move, or talk.

What is Awake Surgery

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2 When is this type of surgery done?

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Suppose a tumor or part of your brain that causes seizures needs to be removed through surgery. In that case, doctors have to ensure they don’t damage a part of your brain that controls your language, speech, or motor skills.

It’s hard to know exactly where these areas are before surgery. But when you are awake during brain surgery, the doctor can figure out which parts of your brain control those functions and avoid them.

When is this type of surgery done

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1 The outcome of the surgery

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If you had awake brain surgery to treat your epilepsy, your seizures should get better after the surgery. Some people no longer have seizures, while others have less than they did before the surgery. For brain tumor removal, this type of surgery allows your neurosurgeon to remove most of the tumor. But you may still need other treatments, like radiation therapy or chemotherapy, to kill any remaining parts of the tumor.

The outcome of the surgery

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