Background: Awake craniotomy is performed with increasing frequency for brain tumor surgery in eloquent areas; however, little is known about patients' memories of this procedure. Here we retrospectively analyzed the quality and quantity of memories in a series of patients treated following a standardized protocol. Methods: We treated 61 consecutive patients within 3 years, 48 of whom were alive when the study was performed. Each of these patients received a questionnaire eliciting information about their perioperative memories and perceptions. The perioperative process was broken down into steps, and for each step the patient was to judge the quantity (nothing-everything) and quality (very negative-very positive) of his or her memories. Results: Thirty-six of the 48 patients completed the questionnaire (75%). The quantity of memories was quite incomplete, even for intraoperative moments when patients were awake and cooperative. On average, the quality of memories was neutral or positive. A higher quantity of memories was associated with a higher quality of memories. The most commonly reported sources of discomfort were placement of the Mayfield clamp, followed by laying on the operating room table with movement restriction, and irritation by the urinary catheter in situ. Conclusions: Awake craniotomy can be performed following our protocol in such a way that it is experienced as (very) comfortable. However, there are moments of discomfort, which can be managed by the team. Extensive preoperative preparation may be considered a crucial part of the procedure. Less amnesia seems to improve patient satisfaction. The results of this study can help guide protocol optimization, expectation management, and information for future patients.

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Keywords (Awake) craniotomy, Memories, Patient experience, Perioperative
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Journal World Neurosurgery
Klimek, M, van der Horst, P.H. (Paul H.), Hoeks, S.E, & Stolker, R.J. (2017). Quality and Quantity of Memories in Patients Who Undergo Awake Brain Tumor Resection. World Neurosurgery. doi:10.1016/j.wneu.2017.09.158