Brain tumors may form in parts of the brain that control crucial functions like movement, speech, and vision.
With awake craniotomy and brain mapping, UPMC neurosurgeons can help protect these functions. This advanced technology allows them to map brain function before they safely remove brain tumors.
It's a type of brain surgery to remove tumors while you're awake.
During an awake craniotomy, UPMC neurosurgeons remove a small piece of your skull to make an opening.
They use this opening to access and remove brain tumors. They can also repair any damage to nearby brain tissue.
Neurosurgeons may do awake brain surgery when tumors are in parts of the brain that control functions like:
Your neurosurgeon will talk with you in order to map brain function.
They may ask you to respond to certain questions or commands. Your responses help guide your surgeon to remove the brain tumor and preserve vital brain functions.
Awake craniotomy isn't right for everyone.
Generally, neurosurgeons use awake brain surgery if you have a complex brain tumor.
A complex brain tumor may:
Your UPMC neurosurgeon will ask you about any symptoms you have to see if this surgery is right for you.
They'll also take into account:
Awake craniotomy offers many benefits in treating brain tumors.
Your neurosurgeon interacts with you during the procedure to get real-time feedback. This helps protect your vital brain functions as they remove the brain tumor.
Awake brain surgery may also help you:
But awake craniotomy also poses some risks, such as:
During awake craniotomy, surgeons use advanced brain mapping technology. This helps them find the precise areas of your brain that control movement and speech that they'll avoid during surgery.
They keep you awake during surgery so they can constantly monitor and protect your brain function. They do this while removing as much of the tumor as possible.
You may have questions about how to prepare for awake brain surgery.
Before surgery, your UPMC neurosurgeon will:
Your surgeon and anesthesiology expert will also talk with you about the type of anesthesia you'll have.
They may give you:
When surgery begins, your neurosurgeon will use a small device called an electrode to stimulate areas of your brain. This helps them precisely locate areas that control your speech and movement.
They may also:
Specialists will take more scans of your brain.
They compare these images to the ones they took before surgery. They'll also them along with your responses to map your brain's critical areas.
When brain mapping is complete, your neurosurgeon will use this data to:
No. Throughout surgery, your anesthesiologist continuously checks to make sure you don't feel any pain. They also check your blood pressure and heart rate.
Your doctors talk with you to make sure you're not feeling anxious.
When your neurosurgeon has removed the tumor, they:
You'll stay in recovery while the anesthesia wears off. You may move to the ICU or a neurologic care unit for a short time while you heal.
Neurorehab experts may visit to see if you can benefit from:
If you're doing well, you can leave the hospital in a day or two.
Healing after awake brain surgery takes time. The incision in your scalp may become sore.
You may also have:
As you heal, be sure to follow your UPMC neurosurgeons instructions. You'll need extra rest.
Your doctor will tell how long before you can:
You may have some side effects after the surgery. Talk to your doctor about what's normal.
Let them know right away if you have:
UPMC neurosurgeons are experts in performing awake craniotomy for brain tumors.
We let you know what to expect throughout the entire awake brain surgery and mapping process. And we'll make sure you have all the details you need to decide if it's right for you.
Contact the UPMC neurosurgery team to learn more about awake craniotomy or make an appointment.
To make an appointment or learn more: