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Team of Croatian Doctors Successfully Perform ‘Awake’ Brain Surgery

KCB Rebro / Jutarnji list

KCB Rebro / Jutarnji list

A team of 8 doctors from the KBC Zagreb hospital have successfully performed a 6-hour ‘awake craniotomy’ on a patient…

‘Awake craniotomy’, which is only performed in around 30 centres in the world, is an operation performed in the same manner as a conventional craniotomy but with the patient awake during the procedure.

“I chose to have the operation awake. During the operation on the brain I was awake for more than two hours talking with the doctors. It was hard work, but it paid off. After just days I could fully talk again, I had no problems,” 39-year-old Ivica Barukčić told daily Jutarnji list after the successful operation last week to operate on tumour on his brain.

The complete operation takes around 6 hours, with Ivica being awake for 2 and a half of those hours.

“This is the only way for the surgical removal of a brain tumor, which are located in the so-called ‘eloquent regions’, particularly in the areas in charge of speech and motor skills to ensure that these functions will remain active,” explained Doctor Goran Mrak, adding that they learnt the procedure from Doctor Hugues Duffau at a clinic in Montpellier, France.

“With this procedure neurologists can control the speech of the patient during surgery. In the waking state we can do selected neurological, psychological and speech pathology tests and can accurately localize and identify different disorders of speech from repeating sentences, understanding, and even interference in the calculation and orientation to the left or right, as well as movement disorders of the arms and legs,” said Neurologist Teresa Gabelić.

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