About the Procedure
An awake craniotomy is necessary when a tumor is present in a portion of the brain that controls an important function, such as speech, sensation or motor movement. The procedure lasts approximately three hours and allows the neurosurgeon to test the neurological function of the patient while removing the tumor. The patient is asleep during the uncomfortable parts of the procedure, and then brought to consciousness after the brain has been exposed. The neurosurgeon then tests the critical areas during the time the patient is awake. Patients are unaware of the tumor removal, as the brain itself is not a pain-sensitive structure. It is critical to safely remove as much of the tumor as possible. Less anesthesia is required for an awake craniotomy, which allows the patient to recover much more quickly than other types of brain surgery. In fact, patients typically return home in three to four days. In this particular webcast, the patient was able to talk to her family immediately after the procedure, while she was still in the operating room.