Vietnam masters awake brain surgery technique

The Hanoi’s Vietnam - Germany Friendship Hospital has officially mastered the technique of awake brain surgery after carrying out two surgeries under the method with support from foreign experts.

Associate Professor, Dr. Dong Van He (L) and the patient discuss the successful awake brain operation. (Photo courtesy to Vietnam - Germany Hospital)
Associate Professor, Dr. Dong Van He (L) and the patient discuss the successful awake brain operation. (Photo courtesy to Vietnam - Germany Hospital)

>>> Vietnam performs first awake brain surgery

According Associate Professor, Dr. Dong Van He, Deputy Director of the hospital cum Head of its Neurosurgery Centre, on March 22, the hospital successfully implemented another awake conscious brain surgery, with the participation of the hospital’s staff by themselves.

The patient, Cao Quang Canh, born in 1964 (from Dong Hoi city, Quang Binh province) was a doctor. He was found with numbness in his left arm and leg, and sometimes had difficulty moving combined with hardly being able to grasp objects in his left hand (dominant hand). Occasionally, he felt crippled by headaches.

Canh was diagnosed with a 2.3cm x 3.6cm brain tumor at the end of January and then was introduced to the awake brain surgery at the Vietnam - Germany Hospital and decided to undergo treatment under this new method.

The surgery took place on March 22 over more than three hours, during which the patient awakened for an hour singing a song and talking to the surgery staff. The doctors completely removed the tumor in the patient's brain.

The awake method requires close coordination between surgeons and anesthetists and the support of modern equipment systems, including means for cortical stimulation and monitoring during the surgery.

Discussing the operation, Dr. He said that during the initial one third of the surgery, the patient was fully alert without anesthesia. During the surgery, he still spoke and sang so that the doctors could identify the nerves to avoid cutting those that lead to movement and verbal function.

"The duration when the patient was awake for an hour is quite long, so instead of the period when the patient was singing, the doctors and nurses had to talk to him. This is a new surgical method, requiring patients to be brave. During the operation, the patient was awake, hearing the sound of the skull drill and other technical instruments performing right above his head. Therefore, if the patient suffered panic, discomfort or fear, the surgery would not be successful,” Dr. He.

Two months ago, the hospital also successfully performed two brain tumor surgeries with the awake method, but with the help of Japanese experts. With the success in the latest case, it is the first operation performed entirely by doctors of the Vietnam - Germany Hospital. After the surgery, Canh has been able to move their left hand easily and hold chopsticks and spoons.

It is known that the cost for awake brain surgery is not higher than the normal method.