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Dr. Michael Vogelbaum in the operating room

An awake craniotomy is a type of surgery that can be used to treat cancers of the brain. As the name implies, a patient remains awake for parts of the procedure and local anesthetic along with mild sedatives are used to minimize discomfort. By remaining conscious during an awake craniotomy, a patient can help a neurosurgeon avoid injury to important areas of brain function surrounding a tumor by responding to questions, reading and performing simple tasks involving movement. An awake procedure also leads to easier recovery, with most patients able to go home about one day after surgery.

Because – like any other type of brain cancer surgery – an awake craniotomy is a highly complex procedure, patients are advised to seek treatment from a specialized type of neurosurgeon, a neurosurgical oncologist, who has specific experience in removing cancers from high-risk areas of the brain. At Moffitt Cancer Center, our team of neurosurgeons not only specializes in brain cancer treatment but also:

  • Has access to the most state-of-the-art surgical tools, including real-time imaging and brain mapping technologies
  • Collaborates with other members of each patient’s treatment team to create individualized, multispecialty treatment plans
  • Participates in weekly tumor board meetings where complex cases can be evaluated in a group setting
  • Routinely evaluates the newest and most precise approaches to brain cancer surgery through our robust clinical trials program

Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael Vogelbaum, Program Leader and Chief of Neurosurgery, Department of Neuro-Oncology 

To learn more about your options for brain cancer surgery, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. One of our experienced surgeons can help you determine if you are a good candidate for an awake craniotomy or if another procedure would be more beneficial for meeting your unique needs.