Awake craniotomy with brain mapping as the routine surgical approach to treating patients with supratentorial intraaxial tumors: a prospective trial of 200 cases

Michael D. Taylor M.D. 1 and Mark Bernstein M.D., F.R.C.S.(C) 1
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  • 1 Division of Neurosurgery, The Toronto Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Object. Awake craniotomy was performed as the standard surgical approach to supratentorial intraaxial tumors, regardless of the involvement of eloquent cortex, in a prospective trial of 200 patients surgically treated by the same surgeon at a single institution.

Methods. Patient presentations, comorbid conditions, tumor locations, and the histological characteristics of lesions were recorded. Brain mapping was possible in 195 (97.5%) of 200 patients. The total number of patients sustaining complications was 33 for an overall complication rate of 16.5%. There were two deaths in this series, for a mortality rate of 1%. New postoperative neurological deficits were seen in 13% of the patients, but these were permanent in only 4.5% of them. Complication rates were higher in patients who had gliomas or preoperative neurological deficits and in those who had undergone prior radiation therapy or surgery. No patient who entered the operating room neurologically intact sustained a permanent neurological deficit postoperatively. Of the most recent 50 patients treated, three (6%) required a stay in the intensive care unit, and the median total hospital stay was 1 day.

Conclusions. Use of awake craniotomy can result in a considerable reduction in resource utilization without compromising patient care by minimizing intensive care time and total hospital stay. Awake craniotomy is a practical and effective standard surgical approach to supratentorial tumors with a low complication rate, and provides an excellent alternative to craniotomy performed with the patient in the state of general anesthesia because it allows the opportunity for brain mapping and avoids general anesthesia.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Mark Bernstein, M.D, F.R.C.S.(C), Division of Neurosurgery, The Toronto Hospital, University of Toronto, 2–405, McLaughlin Pavilion, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2S8 Canada.
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