Still active during brain operation

Wow… this is surely a leap forward…

Not a subject I like reading about much but certain brain surgery has been done with the patient awake for a long time. It allows the surgeon to try and minimise collateral damage. So, for example, if the surgery is near the speech centre the patient will be asked to keep talking so that the surgeon can hear the onset of any unwanted vocal “impact” or as in this case digital dexterity. I think it’s pretty crude and barbaric myself and by no means a “leap forward”. It was popular during frontal lobotomies. The case of JF Kennedy’s sister was a rather dreadful example.

I had not heard of it before…

There are so many stories of operations going wrong… that perhaps this one was felt newsworthy now, due to its success…

Over our time here… I’ve chosen local anaesthesia for several minor operations… phew… being awake at the time is no fun, but at least I “felt” I was in control… :thinking:

For anything major… I reckon the person and the doctors need to have complete agreement/confidence before doing it “live”.

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It’s a bit gruesome though, isn’t it? Last year for my thyroidectomy the anaesthetist asked me if I wanted a general anaesthetic or hypnosis. I probably opted too quickly for the former because I did no research and immediately equated hypnosis to no analgesics. Thinking back I’m sure that’s not the case but I still wonder how effective hypnosis in a “foreign” language is? One might get diverted by an unfamiliar phrase and wake up. Given the sledgehammer effect of general anaesthetics I can see being awake during proceedures becoming more common.

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Not gruesome… I never saw anything “nasty” and the staff were amazing, each time.

On one occasion, the heart monitor stopped bleeping… and I was muzzily wondering how long it would take for the staff to realize I was dead :zipper_mouth_face::open_mouth::wink::wink:


I saw similar done in the 1980’s - well, not the guitar playing bit - so it’s not altogether new.

Well… this successful operation took place the previous week… to a live musical accompaniment… :open_mouth: … perhaps the BBC put it onto the News on 20th December 2018… to take our minds off Brexit…

A successful operation is always preferable to a foul-up… surely… :hugs::zipper_mouth_face:

Slightly off topic, operating in the womb for spina bifida will be routine in the UK. Amazing what can be done.


Indeed but the BBC reported it as though the technique was something new - as far as I know having patients awake during neurosurgery (at least for part of the time) to help the surgeon navigate through the brain and avoid damage to critical pathways is a technique that dates back at least 30 ears, possibly more.

Paul… I found it amazing that the chap was picking at his guitar during the operation… and it was felt to be news-worthy…

Obviously, you did not feel so …

No, it’s as newsworthy as anything else that’s out there and, as you say, a bit of good news to distract us all from Brexit is no bad thing.

But when it is presented as a “new” thing and I’m sitting there thinking “yes, I saw that done in 1983-4” it, perhaps, seems a bit more mundane.

Ha ha.,…perhaps we should think of it a bit like black&white tv V colour tv … …operations with or without sound… :hugs: now you hear it … now you don’t :thinking:

I wonder what he played during the operation ?
A few possibilities…

I Will Survive
Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye
I Hear You Knocking
One Day At A Time
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
Needles And Pins
I’m Alive


Brain damage - Floyd :sunglasses:


Comfortably Numb, also by Floyd :wink:


Can’t Get You Out Of My Head - Kylie Minogue


Brain Salad Surgery - ELP

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Knocking on Heavens door


While not “new” to the world… this operation is still uncommon practice in South Africa…

So glad it went well…

It is common practice to keep people awake during brain surgery so that the surgeon is aware of responses.
It is a very practical guide as there is no feeling within the brain itself.