A 5-year-old girl became the youngest patient in the world to undergo awake brain surgery. The surgery was performed at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, on January 4.
The procedure for the left perisylvian intraaxial brain tumor was performed using the conscious sedation technique. The child, Akshita, who is a first-standard student, presented to the doctors with a history of seizures. Her brain MRI reports showed a tumor on the left side of the brain adjacent to the speech/language area. The tumor was successfully removed after three hours of surgery. Dr. Deepak Gupta, Professor of Neurosurgery, led the surgery along with his team and was assisted by neuro anesthetists Dr. Mihir Pandia and Dr. Gyanendra Pal Singh.
There was a discussion between the team of doctors, the parents, and the child before taking a call on the surgery. The parents and the child were counseled about the surgery. Akshita was shown a few common objects and animals and was given some tasks before the commencement of the surgery. The same steps were repeated during the procedure too. The AIIMS doctors said that she recognized the picture of Narendra Modi during the surgery.
Awake brain surgery is medically known as an awake craniotomy. It is performed for tumors and epileptic foci located near essential brain regions. It is a neurosurgical procedure performed while the patient is awake and responsive. A portion of the skull is removed to gain access to the brain, which allows the surgeons to monitor and protect critical brain functions in real-time. This reduces the risk of postoperative defects, and speech and motor skills are preserved.
The doctors further stated that they used technological supports like the preoperative functional MRI brain, intraoperative ultrasonography, and neuronavigation to localize the tumor during the resection. Simultaneously, the mapping of brain functions was carried out. They used ice saline on the brain surface to ensure no seizures occurred during the procedure.
The team of doctors said that the successful surgery was possible due to collaborative efforts between the surgery and the anesthesia teams. The child, Akshita, has been responding well to the treatment and is expected to be discharged soon.
(Inputs from various sources)