He was kept conscious during the procedure to ensure the brain’s vital functions were not impaired
A 38-year-old Indian expat in UAE has successfully undergone an awake brain surgery, just days ahead of World Brain Tumour Day.
The expat, AP, had consulted a couple of hospitals in India since he was constantly facing headaches. He was diagnosed with glioma, a tumour that starts in the brain’s glial cells, and underwent surgery and chemotherapy in India. He then met Dr Shrath Kumar Maila, Specialist Neurosurgeon, Medeor Hospital, Dubai in 2022, and diagnosed with the same condition for the second time.
Dr Maila said: “Glioma has a high risk of recurrence. We diagnosed the tumour in the left frontal region of his brain, the area of the brain that controls essential functions like movement and speech.” He said that although the medical team tried their best to convince AP to undergo surgery, he was reluctant since he was afraid that the procedure would affect his mobility. Unfortunately, delaying the surgery had an adverse effect, and AP was admitted to the hospital “in a disoriented state with seizures and loss of bladder control.”
When an MRI scan was done, the medical team at the hospital discovered that the patient had brain edema, which is a condition caused by the accumulation of fluid in the brain. It leads to increased pressure and neurological complications, according to the doctor.
“He was in a critical situation that necessitated immediate action,” said Dr. Maila, who decided to proceed with awake brain surgery to decompress the tumour while preserving the functioning of AP’s right upper and lower limbs, and his ability to speak.
AP underwent a 6-hour awake brain surgery, a sophisticated procedure during which he was kept conscious during certain parts to ensure the brain’s vital functions were not impaired. The role of the anesthesia team, including Dr Abdul Aneez, specialist anesthesiologist, and Dr Sudeep Mohapatra, specialist anesthesiologist, was instrumental in keeping the patient comfortable all through the surgery in an awake state, while tumour resection was carried out.
During surgery, Dr Maila asked AP to perform simple tasks such as talking about himself, counting numbers, and reciting the alphabet. This helped the surgeon map and identify crucial brain areas, as well as preserve language, motor, and sensory functions while safely decompressing the glioma.
The patient cooperated with the medical team’s instructions as they stimulated different areas of the brain, allowing Dr Maila to remove most of the tumour while preserving his vital functions.
After the surgery, AP has shown significant improvement. He is able to walk without support and speak normally. He has also regained control of his bladder and his vision has improved.
According to his doctor, timely diagnosis and advanced medical treatment in the UAE have given him a new lease of life.
Timely diagnosis and treatment
Cases like these shine the spotlight on the cutting-edge medical treatments available in the UAE. They also highlight the importance of receiving timely diagnosis and treatment.
According to a 2020 study, brain cancer ranks 10th among the cancers in the UAE. The expatriate population had a higher percentage of brain tumours (72 per cent) than the locals. The mean age at diagnosis was 33.48 years.
“World Brain Tumour Day is a reminder of the challenges faced by individuals affected by brain tumours. The occasion highlights the importance of early diagnosis and access to advanced treatment,” said Dr Maila.
“The word ‘tumour’ itself is frightening to most patients. It needs to be understood that not all tumours of the brain are cancerous and kill people. In fact, most of the routinely seen brain tumours can be treated well if diagnosed and addressed early,” said Dr Maila, adding that tumours can present with symptoms such as headachess, vomiting, seizure, vision issues and at times malfunctioning of the part of the body that relates to the area of the brain involved with the tumour.
Read More: Khaleej Times