An awake brain surgery is useful in cases where the intended surgery is close to areas of the brain with an important function; for example, those responsible for movement, speech or vision. This is because the function of these areas can be accurately tested during the operation in order to reduce the risk of injury. The procedure adopted in performing an awake brain surgery is termed “Awake Craniotomy”.
A craniotomy is a neurosurgical operation where a trap–door is made in part of the skull to access the underlying brain for surgery.
During all surgeries, the patient is in sleep and under the influence of anaesthesia which is to avoid experiencing pain. Unlike this routine method, an awake craniotomy is a type of craniotomy where for part of the procedure, the patient is alert and responsive. Pain relief and sedation are given as required, but the patient is not put to sleep.