BrainTumors.com - Intraoperative Brain Mapping
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Intraoperative Brain Mapping (also known as Awake Brain Surgery or iMRI) is a surgery performed while the patient is awake. This allows the neurosurgeon to remove otherwise inoperable brain tumors that are too close to critical parts of the brain (vision, speech, touch, and body movements). During surgery, the neurosurgeon will stimulate the area around the tumor with small electrodes to locate the brain areas that need to be avoided. To find these areas, the neurosurgeon asks the patient to perform tasks such as counting, talking, and looking at pictures. The neurosurgeon uses Functional MRI (fMRI) images of the patient's brain to create a map of their brain's functional areas, and then bases the operation on this map. These locations vary from one person to the next, so without this map there is no way for the surgeon to know exactly which areas not disrupt.
Prior to the operation, the patient's scalp is numbed. They are also either partially sedated, or given a localized injection of medication to block the pain. Throughout the procedure, the neuroanesthesiologist will make sure that the patient does not feel any pain, monitor vital signs, and help them remain calm by talking to them.
Note: The information provided on this website was not written by a doctor or cancer specialist, so in all cases you should consult your own doctor about diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.