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Br J Neurosurg. 2011 Oct;25(5):606-13. doi: 10.3109/02688697.2011.568642. Epub 2011 May 18.

Patient experience and satisfaction with awake craniotomy for brain tumours.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Wessex Neurological Centre, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Southampton, UK.


Awake craniotomy is increasingly used to facilitate safe maximal resection of brain tumours. Very little published data is available to determine patient experiences and satisfaction. This knowledge may lead to improvement in technique and enhance future patient care. In 2006, we began to use conscious sedation ('full awake technique') for craniotomies for tumour resection. A questionnaire designed with reference to Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) guidelines was sent out to 60 consecutive patients. Four areas of care were explored. These included the out-patient consultation with the neurosurgeon, anaesthetic consultation, operation and the post-operative period. Fourty-five responses were received. Ninety-three percent of the patients in our study felt involved sufficiently in the decision for awake surgery and felt they were given enough information when seen in the surgical consultation. However, only 64% of patients received written information in advance of their surgical date. Ninety-one percent of patients were confident that they would be looked after during surgery following their anaesthetic consultation. Eighty-seven percent of patients felt at ease during surgery. Twenty-four percent experienced some discomfort during surgery, some of which was related to positioning of the patient rather than surgical technique. Fifty-six percent of our patients reported no post-operative pain. Eighty-four percent of patients were happy with timing of their discharge. Eighty percent felt well supported post-discharge. This study demonstrates high levels of patient satisfaction and provides surgeons with useful data for consenting patients. We identified no difference in levels of patient satisfaction comparing day-case patients with those admitted. We identified areas for improvement including provision of written information, enhancing post-discharge support and allowing more time for anaesthetic discussion before surgery.

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