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Craniotomy in an awake patient

For several years now, with the great progress in anaesthesiology, neurophysiology and neurosurgery, it has been possible, and extremely beneficial for the patient in certain surgical procedures, to perform brain surgery without general anaesthesia.

This is technically possible, because of a truly spectacular event: The brain itself does not “feel” anything! So what this means in practice is that if we can somehow get there (by opening the anatomical structures that protect it, such as the skull bone for example), without causing pain, then we can remove a lesion (a tumour for example) from inside the brain without injuring the delicate neural circuits that control vital functions such as speech, understanding speech, body movement etc.

When this knowledge is combined with the use of neuronavigation technology (a system that directs us in the operating room, in real time, to a predetermined anatomical point within the brain), then, with minimal intervention, we can truly achieve miraculous surgical results without significant risks to the patient’s health and neurological condition.

You may have seen documentaries where a surgeon intervenes in a patient’s brain while they are talking, playing a musical instrument, singing, or moving their limbs. The point of such an intervention is not to show that it is technically possible or to impress with the progress of science. The point is that the area of damage is very close to an important functional area of the brain that controls a very important activity, such as fine finger movement. Thus, a musician, after the operation to remove the affected area, can continue his professional activity and maintain the great skills he has acquired with great effort during his life.

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Scientific meeting at the Pasteur Institute

The neurosurgeon, Nikos Maratheftis will speak at the Scientific Meeting that will take place on January 24, 2017, in the amphitheater of the Pasteur Institute, on the subject of Percutaneous Spine Support Surgery.

 

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