What is an awake craniotomy?
A craniotomy is a kind of brain surgery that involves making an incision in the scalp, followed by a hole in the skull. This procedure can be conducted in order to remove tumours, remove abnormal tissues, remove an aneurysm or drain fluid from an infection. It is typically performed by removing a piece of bone from the skull and pulling back the membrane that covers the brain so that the surgeon can access and work on the brain tissue. After the brain surgery, the bone is put back in place before the scalp is stitched or stapled back together.
In some cases, parts of the procedure is performed while the patient is still awake, although medication will be administered to ensure that the patient remains calm and without pain throughout. The surgery is performed while the patient is awake so that the surgeon can stimulate certain parts of the brain to check for vital functions and motor control. During the surgery, the patient may also be asked to perform activities like counting and identifying pictures so that the surgeon can see which part of the brain is responsible for each type of task.