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4 themes described the experiences of patients before, during, and immediately after awake craniotomy

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A Palese

Prof A Palese, Udine University, Udine, Italy; alvisa.palese@uniud.it

QUESTION

How do patients describe their experiences before, during, and immediately after awake craniotomy?

DESIGN

Qualitative study using a phenomenological approach.

SETTING

Neurosurgical unit in a hospital in Udine, Italy.

PARTICIPANTS

Purposeful sample of 21 patients >18 years of age (age range 20–63 y, 52% women) who had a brain neoplasm, no language or cognitive disabilities, and were to have surgery under local anaesthesia.

METHODS

Patients participated in 2 individual interviews (1 on the day before and 1 on the day after surgery), each lasting 30–60 minutes. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Data were analysed thematically.

MAIN FINDINGS

4 themes described patients’ experiences of awake craniotomy. (1) Patients focused on self-preservation before surgery. They felt that having surgery under local anaesthesia was almost non-negotiable because they believed it would reduce collateral damage and prevent disabilities. However, they also felt they had an active role in decisions: “It is my role during the operation to help the neurosurgeon understand where it is dangerous to touch and where he should be operating.” Most patients were more afraid of …

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