Eighteen-year-old Moubani Karmakar in Kolkata, India, underwent awake Craniotomy, a rare surgery performed by keeping the patient awake. The procedure has cured her of the brain tumor.
Awake Craniotomy is performed in the same manner as conventional head surgery, except the patient stays awake during the entire operation.
The technique is mostly used to remove lesions close to, or involving, major regions of the brain that control faculties like of speech and movement.
"The operation is done rarely because it requires the patient to be utmostly cooperative. It also needs good coordination between the anesthesia team and the surgeon," said Amitabha Chanda, consultant neurosurgeon, Fortis Hospital.
Karmakar suffered a seizure in July 2011 and tests revealed a tumor in the motor area on the left side of the brain, that controls movement of the right side of the body.
"We realised that a conventional operation would paralyse the patient on her right side. So we decided to perform this procedure (Awake Craniotomy). We used local anesthesia and some sedation so that Moubani could interact with the surgeon during the operation and tell us if she felt any problem or discomfort," said Chanda.
After the patient's brain was exposed sedation was lightened further to help her remain awake.
"During the operation we regularly asked Moubani to count to one hundred, and also move her limbs, which confirmed that no blood vessels were damaged during the procedure," Chanda said.