Patient stays awake during brain surgery

Most patients are placed under complete anesthesia for something as complex as brain surgery, but a recent procedure called for the patient to stay awake and communicate with the doctors.

35-year-old Josh Wickey may be in the operating room, but for most of this 6 hour brain surgery he’ll be awake. And talking to Northwestern Medicine neurosurgeon Matthew Tate.

Dr. Tate says a chunk of josh’s brain the size of a tennis ball has to come out.

And josh had to stay awake to guide the surgery.

The doctors painstakingly stimulated numerous areas in Wickey’s exposed brain, and when he tells them what he’s feeling, it helps them map the brain.

“What does a patient absolutely have to have to be able to move their arm, or to be able to sense someone touching their leg or something like that? We want to preserve the very fundamental things that you can’t take out,” Matthew Tate said.

Knowing that helps surgeons cut deeply but safely, removing almost all of the tumor.

Three weeks after surgery, the staples were taken out.

Doctors say in a few months, it’ll be as if he had no surgery at all.