This Woman Has to Stay Awake During Brain Surgery

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This Woman Has to Stay Awake During Brain Surgery


Usually, patients are given some type of medicine to stay asleep while operation. But Kelly Ann Alexander, 41, experienced the opposite. She underwent brain surgery while staying awake. 

Although this seems unusual to some people, the surgery called ‘awake craniotomy’ has been practiced in the medical field for quite some time now. Awake craniotomy is an operation where doctors work on the brain and wake the patient up during the procedure to make sure that they don’t do any damage. Usually, this is being used to treat people who have a brain tumor. Doctors have to keep their patients awake to ensure that their speech and movement are not affected. 


Photo Credit: Kelly Ann Alexander (via Metro)


In September 2015, Alexander suffered a seizure at home and discovered that she had two slow-growing tumors in her brain. In an interview by Metro, the UK’s highest-circulation newspaper, she said: "I had been feeling tired for a while but at the time I was working really hard at my job as a professional horse groom. I was looking after 15 horses on my own plus my own horse Aliyana. On the day of the first seizure, I told my husband, Kevin, I was going to bed at about 7 pm because I was just so tired. About 10 minutes later, he thought I was smashing up the room and he came in to find me having a seizure.” 


Photo Credit: Kelly Ann Alexander (via Metro)


Alexander was told by the doctors that she had epilepsy and prescribed anti-seizure medication. However, she experienced more seizures for the next few days. After several MRI scans and CT scans, it was found that she had two tumors in her brain that are causing seizures and other symptoms, including a metallic taste in her mouth. Alexander and her family were given a few options for treatment: either surgery or a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She chose surgery. During the surgery, she remembered being asked to lift her arms and she even argued with the doctors about the name of her horse! 




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