First Awake Craniotomy in Isfahan

First Awake Craniotomy in IsfahanFirst Awake Craniotomy in Isfahan

The first ‘awake craniotomy’ in the country was performed in a teaching hospital affiliated to Al Zahra University in Isfahan on Tuesday.

A craniotomy is the surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain.

The surgery was performed on a 58-year-old woman with meningioma tumor, that forms on membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord just inside the skull, IRNA quoted Dr Mohammad Ali Attari, a faculty member of the university and neuroanesthesiologist, as saying.

The 4.5-hour procedure was performed on the patient by blocking the sensory nerves in her skull and then injecting sedatives; so the patient was awake but sedated.  

The 8-member surgical team was led by Dr Mohammad Reza Omrani, otolaryngologist and Dr Hamidreza Abtahi, neurotologic surgeon with clinical fellowship in otology and skull-base surgery.

Awake brain surgery enables the neurosurgeons to remove tumors that have spread in the brain and do not have clear borders and are too close to areas of the brain that control vision, speech and body movements.  

By using this surgical method neurosurgeons are able to remove the tumor without damaging critical parts of the brain. The patient receives a scalp block and a little anesthesia for sedation at the beginning of the procedure.

During surgery, the neurosurgeon stimulates the area around the tumor with small electrodes. To precisely locate the functional areas of the brain that must be avoided, the patient is asked to perform tasks such as talking, counting and looking at pictures.

Throughout  the procedure, the neuroanesthesiologist will ensure that the patient does not feel any pain, monitor vital signs (heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure) and talk to the patient to help them remain calm.