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Doctors in Islamabad Carry Out Procedure of Removing Brain Tumour While the Patient is Awake

ISLAMABAD: Doctors at Shifa International Hospital on Monday performed a surgery, removing a brain tumour from a 60-year-old patient who remained awake throughout the procedure, Dawn reported.

The surgery, which was completed in almost two hours, was led by neurosurgeon Dr Akbar Ali Khan.

“Though this kind of surgery has been conducted at Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi, it was the first time a surgery of a similar nature was carried outside that hospital,” Dr Ali, who recently arrived from United Kingdom, said.

He said the patient had a tumour on the eloquent part of the brain due to which his leg could become paralysed during operation.

“So we decided to keep the patient awake because it reduces the chances of being paralysed,” he said.

Replying to a question, Dr Ali said that the patient was out of danger and would be discharged after 24 hours.

According to John Hopkins Medicines, Awake Brain Surgery (Intraoperative Brain Mapping) is performed while the patient is awake but sedated. This procedure enables the neurosurgeons to remove tumors that would otherwise be inoperable because they are too close to areas of the brain that control vision, language and body movements and the surgery would result in a significant loss of function.

Neurosurgeons perform this kind of surgery for tumors that have spread throughout the brain and do not have clear borders, such as some types of glioma. It can shrink these tumors.

The procedure is performed after the patient’s scalp is numbed and usually with the patient sedated.

The neurosurgeon works very closely with the neuroanesthesiologist. Together, they will decide if awake brain surgery is right for a particular patient, depending on:

  • The importance of awake brain surgery in removing the tumor without damaging critical parts of the brain
  • The patient’s general health (for example, awake brain surgery is not performed in patients with some types of sleep apnea and those who are obese)
  • Whether the patient will be able to remain calm during the procedure and respond to the neurosurgeon
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