Awake craniotomy for the removal of tumours

Our neurosurgeons can remove tumours near functionally-sensitive parts of the brain, using an awake craniotomy


During an awake craniotomy, a patient is brought back to consciousness during part of the procedure, but any painful parts of the surgery are performed under anaesthetic. This is an effective way to remove tumours near areas of the brain that control speech, language, movement or sight (‘eloquent’ cortex). By performing the procedure this way, the neurosurgeon can test regions of the brain and functionality throughout the operation.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    An awake craniotomy normally begins under general anaesthetic, which means you'll be asleep.

    Part of your head will be shaved, and a small cut made in your scalp. A piece of the skull will then be removed (craniotomy). At this point, you'll be woken up and may be asked to carry out tasks, such as reading out loud.

    Your neurosurgeon may then map the brain using electrodes to identify important areas to avoid and protect during the procedure. Once the tumour is located and removed, your neurosurgeon will replace the bone and closes the skin incision.

    It is not painful however some patients may feel a tugging sensation.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your HCA UK neurosurgeon will explain your awake craniotomy to you and answer any questions you might have. 

    Because you'll be having general anaesthetic, they'll let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking before surgery. You may also be asked to attend a nurse-led pre-assessment clinic.

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After your awake craniotomy, you'll be transferred to our recovery ward, where you’ll be looked after by a specialist team. Your neurosurgeon will explain your recovery time to you and when you can expect to get back to your usual routine.

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our locations

From complex neurosurgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional neurosurgical care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

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020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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