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‘Awake craniotomy’ rescued Samuel from speech problems

Awake-craniotomy

50-year-old Samuel had started facing difficulty communicating with people for three months. He would often forget words or lose his train of thought while talking to people. This also made it difficult for him to communicate with his peers or clients at work and his performance levels started going down. Samuel’s condition worsened when he started facing regular headaches and speech impairment.Awake-craniotomy

Worried about his condition, Samuel decided to consult a doctor in Nigeria where he was diagnosed with seizure activity in brain. Further to this an MRI was done which confirmed a brain tumour affecting areas of speech. However, since he was a Jehovah’s Witness (accepting external blood transfusion is prohibited), it further made the surgery complicated. He then decided to consult Dr. Arjun Srivatsa, Senior Consultant – Neurosurgery, Columbia Asia Hospitals, Bangalore.

I had heard of Dr. Arjun from my community members who have done similar complicated surgeries. Since, this was a complicated surgery, I decided to visit Bangalore for the treatment,” recalled Samuel.

We realized that Samuel was suffering from a brain tumour that was directly affecting the area responsible for communication skills. Since, Samuel was aJehovah’s Witness, we had to plan our surgery in such a way that no external blood transfusion is required,” said Dr. Arjun.

On 14th April 2017, Samuel underwent awake craniotomy, a surgery performed while keeping the patient awake allowing doctors to test the patient’s functions continuously throughout the operation.

“During the surgery, we performed cortical mapping that helped us in identifying the important regions of the brain so that we can avoid and protect them during the surgery. Stimulating various areas of the brain have different effects on the body like a motor region results in twitching or touching the speech areas would prevent the patient from speaking briefly. This helps us navigate to the main affected areas and perform the surgery accordingly. Hence we made sure that during the whole procedure the team of doctors were continuously engaged in a conversation with Samuel,” added the doctor.

The surgery went on for 3 hours and Samuel went back home, the next day without any post-operative complications. Currently, he is on a medication for fits to avoid any further health problems. Samuel is now doing completely fine and is able to communicate without any complications.

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