Brain Mapping Surgery

Computer-Assisted Procedure to Map Functional Brain Areas

Loyola Medicine doctors are experienced in the use of brain mapping surgery. This computer-assisted process helps surgeons develop a highly refined brain map for patients who have tumors on or near the brain’s most important functional areas. Brain mapping surgery is used to treat several conditions, including:

Surgeons use this “awake brain surgery” to spare patients from experiencing function loss and damage to critical areas during surgical resections of brain tumors. Loyola’s neurosurgeons have vast experience in this technique, which is one of the most advanced approaches to brain surgery.

Why Choose Loyola for Brain Mapping Surgery?

Loyola takes a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and provides support services for patients and families. Loyola's neurology and neurosurgery departments are ranked 37th in the country on U.S. News & World Report's 2018-2019 Best Hospitals list.

As an academic medical center, Loyola provides compassionate, exceptional care to patients and trains future leaders in neurology and neurosurgery. Our neuro intensive care unit is staffed by certified technologists and trained neurology nurses, who have earned Magnet status.

What to Expect with Brain Mapping Surgery

Loyola’s neurologists have extensive experience performing brain mapping surgery. The procedure is performed with a nerve block and a local anesthesia, as well as a sedative at the beginning and the end of the procedure. Your surgeon will first create an opening in your skull and expose the surface of your brain. Electrodes will be attached to the surface of your brain in order to gather information about the functional areas of your brain. Then you will be gently woken up and your pain will be managed. 

Your Loyola neurosurgeon will deliver minor electric stimulation to different parts of the brain and ask you what sensations you feel, such as tingling in the toes or the taste of chocolate. This allows your doctor to address your medical issue without harming functional areas of your brain. During the surgery, your anesthesiologist will be monitoring you to ensure that you do not feel any pain.  

If you are having this procedure because of a brain tumor, your surgeon will use this map during the tumor removal to prevent any loss of function to speech, thinking or movement. This procedure can take anywhere from one hour to several hours, depending on the amount of tissue affected and how many locations need to be tested.

What are the Risks of Brain Mapping Surgery?

While risk is involved, the aim of brain mapping surgery is to increase your chances of overcoming your condition with a better quality of life. There is a risk of seizure with this procedure, but Loyola’s highly skilled surgeons employ strategies to minimize that possibility.