Awake craniotomy is a technique used to enhance the excision of brain tumors located at or near eloquent portions of the brain responsible for language, speech, movement and sensation. During this procedure, the patient is fully anesthetized and asleep during the opening and closing portions of the surgery.
Once the brain is exposed the patient is brought into a conscious state. Areas of the brain can be gently stimulated and the function of the area evaluated. The neurosurgeon can then decide what tissue can be safely removed. The patient does not experience pain because a local anesthetic has been used to numb the region. Although this technique may add to the length of the surgery, it can improve the safety of the procedure dramatically.