From: Oregon Health & Science University
Published November 2, 2017 10:33 AM

Should Patients be Asleep or Awake During Brain Surgery?

Deep brain stimulation is a long-established surgical procedure that eases the effects of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor through pulses from tiny electrodes implanted in the brain. Currently, most surgeons around the world conduct this surgery while the patient is awake.

You read that right: It’s considered standard clinical practice to keep a patient awake for the four to six hours it takes to implant electrodes into specific areas of the brain that control movement. Yet technological improvements in imaging have enabled neurosurgeons at OHSU to accurately map the brain before and during the procedure. This allows them to conduct the surgery while the patient is fast asleep.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or a brain surgeon, to tell you that patients prefer it,” said Kim Burchiel, M.D., past chair and professor of neurosurgery in the OHSU School of Medicine.

The question is, do the clinical outcomes measure up?

Read more at Oregon Health & Science University

Image: Kim Burchiel, M.D., (center), past chair and professor of neurosurgery in the OHSU School of Medicine, conducts a deep brain stimulation surgery at OHSU. A new study reveals no demonstrable difference in clinical outcomes between surgeries conducted while the patient is asleep versus awake. (Credit: OHSU)

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