Sabah has successfully performed its first fully conscious brain surgery, also known as ‘awake craniotomy’, said state health director Datuk Dr Rose Nani Mudin.
In a statement, Dr Rose said the six-hour surgery performed on 12 January at Queen Elizabeth 2 Hospital was a joint operation by surgeons from the hospital and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
“The patient is a 50-year-old woman who has been experiencing headaches since October 2022 and was diagnosed with multiple meningiomas on the left side of her brain,” she said.
The operation was led by the hospital’s neurosurgeons Dr M. Sofan Zenian and Dr Hezry Abu Hasan, together with UMS neurosurgical anaesthesiologist Dr Yeap Boon Tat and Sungai Buloh Hospital senior neurosurgical consultant Dr Liew Boon Seng.
Dr Rose said the team had begun discussion and preparations for the procedure since November last year.
She explained that the patient’s condition had worsened due to the disorder. Thus, the team decided to perform the ‘awake craniotomy’ procedure so she could live a better quality of life.
‘Awake craniotomy’ requires the patient to remain conscious throughout the operation
The ‘awake craniotomy’ brain surgery requires the patient to be awake and remain conscious throughout the operation.
During the surgery, the brain surgeon will constantly monitor the level of consciousness and brain ‘alertness’ throughout this surgery. This allows the surgeon to assess other possible side effects of the procedure.
“The patient was told to say her name or sing a short song to make sure that she remained awake while being given anaesthetic in a certain amount of doses.”
“After the operation, the patient only complained of a mild headache and was able to drink water. She was able to consume soft meals the following day,” Dr Rose said.
Dr Rose said awake craniotomy had been practised in other countries since 2000, and that Malaysia started performing it in 2010 at Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital, Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Sungai Buloh Hospital and Sultanah Aminah Hospital.