Awake Surgery for Brain Vascular Malformations and Moyamoya Disease

Rami James N. Aoun, Mithun G. Sattur, Chandan Krishna, Amen Gupta, Matthew E. Welz, Allan D. Nanney, Antoun H. Koht, Matthew C. Tate, Katherine H. Noe, Joseph I. Sirven, Barrett J. Anderies, Patrick B. Bolton, Terry L. Trentman, Richard S. Zimmerman, Kristin R. Swanson, Bernard R. Bendok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective Although a significant amount of experience has accumulated for awake procedures for brain tumor, epilepsy, and carotid surgery, its utility for intracranial neurovascular indications remains largely undefined. Awake surgery for select neurovascular cases offers the advantage of precise brain mapping and robust neurologic monitoring during surgery for lesions in eloquent areas, avoidance of potential hemodynamic instability, and possible faster recovery. It also opens the window for perilesional epileptogenic tissue resection with potentially less risk for iatrogenic injury. Methods Institutional review board approval was obtained for a retrospective review of awake surgeries for intracranial neurovascular indications over the past 36 months from a prospectively maintained quality database. We reviewed patients' clinical indications, clinical and imaging parameters, and postoperative outcomes. Results Eight consecutive patients underwent 9 intracranial neurovascular awake procedures conducted by the senior author. A standardized “sedated–awake–sedated” protocol was used in all 8 patients. For the 2 patients with arteriovenous malformations and the 3 patients with cavernoma, awake brain surface and white matter mapping was performed before and during microsurgical resection. A neurological examination was obtained periodically throughout all 5 procedures. There were no intraoperative or perioperative complications. Hypotension was avoided during the 2 Moyamoya revascularization procedures in the patient with a history of labile blood pressure. Postoperative imaging confirmed complete arteriovenous malformation and cavernoma resections. No new neurologic deficits or new-onset seizures were noted on 3-month follow-up. Conclusions Awake surgery appears to be safe for select patients with intracranial neurovascular pathologies. Potential advantages include greater safety, shorter length of stay, and reduced cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-671
Number of pages13
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Awake surgery
  • Cavernomas
  • Direct cortical stimulation
  • Moyamoya
  • Neurovascular surgery
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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