A patient at Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital underwent brain surgery without full anesthesia.
The patient, identified as 36-year-old Ranjith, had been experiencing severe headaches and uncontrolled muscle movements, which greatly hindered his life and profession as a sculptor.
After seeking help at Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital, doctors suspected a brain tumor, specifically located in the left frontal lobe, controlling the right side of the body. This condition posed serious risks, including potential loss of motor function.
To minimize harm to the patient, the medical team proposed performing the surgery without complete anesthesia, engaging the patient actively in the procedure. This is also called Awake Brain surgery.
Ranjith was informed and consented to this unconventional approach, which aimed to safeguard his motor and cognitive functions.
Before the operation, the medical team provided Ranjith with a booklet containing numbers, shapes, colors, and various objects. This booklet served as a reference point for memory and cognitive checks during the procedure.
During the surgery, Ranjith remained in a state of minimal sedation and was questioned about his personal details, as well as items from the booklet, including shapes, colors, and numbers. He responded accurately, demonstrating preserved cognitive function.
The surgery was hailed as a tremendous success, as the medical team managed to remove the tumor while ensuring the preservation of sensitive brain regions.
Notably, Ranjith, a skilled sculptor, even drew a beautiful lotus flower during the surgery, showcasing his cognitive and motor abilities.
Astoundingly, the patient was discharged from the hospital without any complications the day after the operation, marking a significant milestone in the field of neurosurgery.
The surgical team, led by neurosurgeons Dr. Madhusankha Gomes, Dr. Rohan Faris, and anesthetists Dr. Levan Kariyawasam and Dr. Visakha Karner, played a pivotal role in this extraordinary medical breakthrough. Dr. Milan Herath, who commented on the procedure, expressed satisfaction with the successful outcome.
This groundbreaking surgery, performed without full anesthesia, was a pioneering achievement for the public sector in Sri Lanka, specifically in the neurosurgery department of Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital.
What is more extraordinary is the fact that the first-ever awake brain surgery was also done by Dr. Madhushanka Gomes and his neuro-surgical team at Anuradhapura District General Hospital back in 2021.
The patient was a 42-year-old farmer with a brain tumor in the insular region, leading to epileptic fits and severe headaches. By involving the patient in memory and cognitive tasks during the procedure, the surgical team verified the removal of only tumorous tissue. The patient’s quick recovery and discharge after the six-hour surgery mark a significant milestone.