Awake neurosurgery: An update

V. Conte, P. Baratta, P. Tomaselli, V. Songa, L. Magni, N. Stocchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intraoperative brain mapping has the goal of aiding with maximal surgical resection of brain tumors while minimizing functional sequelae. Retrospective randomized studies on large populations have shown that this technique can optimize the surgical approach while reducing postoperative morbidity. During direct electrical stimulation of the language areas adjacent to the tumor, the patient should be collaborative and be able to speak to participate in language testing. Different anesthesiological protocols have been proposed to allow intraoperative brain mapping, which range from local anesthesia to conscious sedation or general anesthesia, with or without airway instrumentation. The most common intraoperative complications are seizure, respiratory depression, and patients' stress and discomfort. Since awake craniotomy carries both benefits and potential risks, the following factors are crucial in the management of patients: 1) careful selection of the patients and 2) communication between the anesthesiological and surgical teams. To date, there remains no consensus about the optimal anesthesiological regimen to use. Only prospective, multicentre randomized studies focused on evaluating the role of different anesthesiological techniques on intraoperative monitoring, postoperative deficits, and intraoperative complications can answer the question of which anesthesiological approach should be chosen when intraoperative brain mapping is requested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-292
Number of pages4
JournalMinerva Anestesiologica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • Anesthesia
  • Brain mapping
  • Brain neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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