Tolerance of awake surgery for glioma: A prospective European Low Grade Glioma Network multicenter study

Thomas Beez, Kira Boge, Michel Wager, Ian Whittle, Denys Fontaine, Giannantonio Spena, Sebastian Braun, Andrea Szelényi, Lorenzo Bello, Hugues Duffau, Michael Sabel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Gross total removal of glioma is limited by proximity to eloquent brain. Awake surgery allows for intraoperative monitoring to safely identify eloquent regions. However, data on adverse psychological effects induced in these patients is limited. Objective: This study explored patients' perception of awake surgery for glioma, with special focus on intraoperative pain and anxiety. Methods: This study was conducted at five neurosurgical centers within the European Low Grade Glioma Network. Patients underwent awake surgery for glioma according to the protocol of the individual center. Pain and discomfort were measured during the awake phase. Postoperatively, patients answered a questionnaire on aspects of their operation. Results: One hundred five patients were enrolled. Pain levels on a 10-cm visual analogue scale were 1.3 cm at the beginning, 1.9 cm the middle, and 2.1 cm at the end of awake phase. Levels of anxiety were 2.2 cm, 2.5 cm and 2.6 cm, respectively. Women and patients younger than 60 years exhibited highest mean anxiety levels. The patient questionnaire revealed that the majority of patients feel comfortable with the procedure. Discomfort resulted from head fixation or positioning on the operating table. Conclusions: We demonstrate that awake surgery is well tolerated, as neither intraoperative nor postoperative assessment revealed major disadvantages. Concerning practical lessons learned from this study, we emphasize the importance of minimizing pain and preparing patients thoroughly to reduce anxiety and maximize cooperation. Awake surgery is an excellent treatment modality for brain tumors with very positive perception by patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1301-1308
Number of pages8
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • Awake surgery
  • Brain mapping
  • Glioma
  • Patients' perception
  • Visual analogue scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Tolerance of awake surgery for glioma: A prospective European Low Grade Glioma Network multicenter study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this