611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

Health Choice Integrated Care crisis Line

NurseWise 24-Hour Crisis Line


611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

NurseWise 24-Hr Crisis Line


powered by centersite dot net

Getting Started
Here are some forms to get started. These can be printed and brought with you so that you can pre-fill out some known info ahead of time. More...

Health Sciences
Basic InformationLatest News
Why Your Nose May Be Key to Parkinson's RiskEvolution Not Over for HumansBrain Scans Offer Clues to Why Some Teens Pile on PoundsNew Clues to Why Yawns Are ContagiousNew Hope From Old Drugs in Fight Against Parkinson'sFirst Gene Therapy Approved in U.S.Awake for Aneurysm Brain Surgery, Better Results?Does Autism Risk Reside in Cells' Energy Engines?More Evidence Contact Sports Can Affect the BrainVirtual House Calls for Speedy, Effective Parkinson's CareSeven Imaging Biomarkers Tied to Cognition in Male FightersDiabetes Drug Shows Promise Against Parkinson'sCombined MRI Might Help Predict Brain Damage in BoxersMedical Reality Catches Up to Science FictionNoninvasive Brain Test May Pinpoint Type of DementiaIn Mice, Brain Cells Discovered That Might Control AgingScans May Show Consciousness in 'Comatose' PatientsBoxers, MMA Fighters May Face Long-Term Harm to Brain: StudyFDA Panel OKs What May Soon Be First Gene Therapy Approved in U.S.Early Parkinson's May Prompt Vision ProblemsWhole-Genome Sequencing of Uncertain Clinical UtilityCould Shift Work Damage Your DNA?Gene Sequencing May Reveal Risks for Rare DiseasesRogue Genes May Cause Some ALS CasesSticky Brain 'Plaques' Implicated in Alzheimer's AgainEven Your Bones Can Get Fat, Mouse Study SuggestsDoes a Low-Fat Dairy Habit Boost Parkinson's Risk?MicroRNA Biomarker Signature Identified for Allergic AsthmaHaywire Immune Cells May Help Cause BaldnessRegion in Brain Associated With Fear of Uncertain FutureBrain Scans Spot Where Fear and Anxiety LiveGene Therapy Might Someday Mend Badly Broken BonesLife Expectancy Slighter Shorter With Parkinson's, DementiaStudy Looks at Parkinson's Effect on Life SpanBody Cooling May Help Brain After Cardiac ArrestDo You Overeat? Your Brain Wiring May Be WhyGene Mutation May Speed Alzheimer's DeclineIs This Enzyme Making You Fat?Type 2 Diabetes May Be Bad for Brain Health'Brain Age' May Help Predict When You'll DieParkinson's Disease May Originate in Gut, Study SaysBlood-Based Genome Testing Feasible for Rapid Mutation AssayBlood Test May Gauge Death Risk After Surgery150-Year-Old Drug May Shorten 'Off' Time for Parkinson's PatientsBrain May Be Organized by Functions, Not Body PartsBody Temperature Might Give Clues to ComaCould Young Blood Boost the Aging Brain?A 'Brainwave' to Help Fight PTSDDizziness in Parkinson's May Be Due to Cerebral HypoperfusionMisunderstood Gene Tests May Lead to Unnecessary Mastectomies
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Medical Disorders
Mental Disorders
Mental Health Professions

Awake for Aneurysm Brain Surgery, Better Results?

HealthDay News
by By Mary Elizabeth Dallas
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Aug 25th 2017

new article illustration

THURSDAY, Aug. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- "Awake" brain surgery may improve treatment of brain aneurysms, researchers say.

A brain aneurysm is a weak area in a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain. It's commonly treated with a surgical technique known as "clipping" while the patient is under general anesthesia.

But a team of researchers at Saint Louis University in Missouri found that "awake brain surgery," using what's called conscious sedation, might improve results.

Testing the procedure on 30 aneurysm patients, study leader Dr. Saleem Abdulrauf and his team were able to communicate with the patients and test their brain function during surgery.

During the operation, surgeons open the skull and clip the artery below the aneurysm so blood can no longer enter it. This causes the blood vessel to shrink and prevents it from rupturing. A ruptured aneurysm can lead to serious disability or death, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

While sedated but conscious, three of the 30 patients developed warning signs of blocked blood flow, such as blurred vision or the inability to make a fist.

When these warning signs developed, the doctors were able to reposition the clips and resolve potential issues within seconds, said Abdulrauf, chair of neurosurgery at the university.

"It happens instantly. It's amazing," he said.

The patients never felt pain, Abdulrauf said. They were deeply asleep as the surgical team removed a piece of their skull and exposed the affected part of their brain. The patients were only awake and alert while their aneurysm was being clipped and the brain itself has no pain receptors, he explained.

With standard surgery under general anesthesia, when one or more clips are placed there may be tiny vessels behind the aneurysm that could inadvertently get closed off, Abdulrauf said.

If these blocked arteries supply brain regions involved in critical function, such as speech, movement and vision, patients could wake up with permanent neurological deficits, he added.

Abdulrauf explained that brain wave monitoring that's done while patients are under general anesthesia isn't totally reliable. There is also no way to monitor patients' vision when they are asleep, he said.

Awake surgery may have other advantages, too. It eliminates some of the risks associated with general anesthesia and provides a viable option for patients with life-threatening brain aneurysms who are not candidates for general anesthesia, the researchers said.

This type of surgery is already used to treat seizures and some brain tumors.

However, awake brain surgery isn't for everyone.

"It takes a special patient," said Dr. Mark Bain, a neurosurgeon at the Cleveland Clinic who wasn't involved in the study.

Also, larger studies are still needed to investigate the benefits of conscious sedation during aneurysm clipping, he said.

There are a couple of important reasons for this, said Bain. "When patients are under general anesthesia, they are being mechanically ventilated and their brain is more relaxed," he explained. Awake sedated patients may not breathe as well, causing the brain to swell. This can make it more difficult for surgeons to reach the aneurysm, he added.

Bain said brain aneurysm surgery is a very meticulous procedure involving tiny blood vessels. The possibility that a patient could move is a very big downside.

Meanwhile, there are effective nonsurgical treatments for brain aneurysms, such as coils and catheters, Bain pointed out. "We can get some type of protection with these less-invasive procedures," he said.

Most brain aneurysms do not cause symptoms until they either become very large or burst. Overall, about 30,000 people in the United States suffer a ruptured brain aneurysm each year. Of these cases, about 40 percent are fatal within the first 24 hours and another 25 percent of patients die of complications within six months, according to the Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The study findings were published in the August edition of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

More information

The U.S. National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on brain aneurysms.