Surgery done while awake?: I have what... - Acoustic Neuroma ...

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Surgery done while awake?

wwoodward49 profile image

I have what the doctors told me was an acoustic neuroma but over the last 10 months it has almost tripled in size and seems to have moved slightly. My doctor is sending me to a neurosurgeon for surgery. I understand now that during the surgery they wake you up and you are awake during the operation. This has got me really upset and at this point I'm not sure I even want to go through the with it. I am 70 years old and was told the surgery would be rough for me. I am really scared now and don't know what to do. Does anyone have any positive points that might help me go forward with this surgery?

10 Replies

The thought of that must be terrifying but many ops are done when awake but despite that I would be apprehensive. I know the thought is the fear as you don’t feel pain so it must be for your benefit despite being unusual. Stay strong and put your trust in your doctor and faith. Be thinking of you x x x

wwoodward49 profile image
wwoodward49 in reply to Kristyll

Thank you Kristyll.

Kristyll profile image
Kristyll in reply to wwoodward49

We are all here to tell the tale x


If your AN is not too large, you can have Gamma knife surgery which is done in minutes, not hours, is painless (except for the head brace) and is done while awake. I am not aware of invasive brain surgery that is done while you are awake.


Thank you Dean.

Hi Dean, how long do you roughly have to wear a head brace.

They put it on, you get an MRI, you get the Gamma knife exposure and they take it off.

Waiting for and taking the MRI was about 1.5 hours, gamma knife setup was about 20 min and exposure was about 20 minutes for a 15mm AN. So you will have the brace on for about 2.5 hours or more. It doesn't hurt, it just feels and looks weird.

If you just "heard" the surgery is done while you are awake, I would consider calling the surgeon's office to verify. My husband had an AN removed and he was asleep the whole time. He also had another brain tumor removed just this past July and was also totally asleep. Brain surgery while awake is for very specific issues and no one I know who had an AN removed was awake. Good luck and stay calm!

Thank you margielyn, you are right. I sometimes find that researching things on the internet is most often very troubling, and in this case the information I read was obviously wrong.

I had my first 2.9cm Acoustic Neuroma removed at House Ear in Los Angeles nearly 20 years ago and I was NOT awake. In 20 years I have never heard of awake brain surgery for an AN. I( say my first because I had regrowth after 7 years and one popped up on the other side a couple of years later. Turns out I have NF2. Still on watch and wait, they are very slow growing but I'm getting closer to having to do something on one of them. The point that I'm trying to make is waiting is the hard part. Be careful of whom you get your information from. You can be alarmed for no reason. The Acoustic Neuroma Association is a great source of accurate information

Good Luck, Dan

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