Man Awake for 10-Hour Brain Surgery

Playing Brain Surgery While Awake?

The thought of being kept awake during brain surgery is horrifying, but in some cases it is required. The Doctors are joined by a man who was kept conscious while a life-saving surgery was performed on his brain.

Stephen tells The Doctors that he mysteriously began smelling a vinegar odor with no explanation. Doctors found a large tumor in his brain, located near his brain’s smell center, and immediate surgery was required. In addition to the tumor being located near where smell is processed, it was also close to the brain’s language center. Doctors kept him conscious and asked him various questions during the surgery to ensure his ability to process language was still functioning. The surgery, where a large chunk of the front of his skull was temporarily removed, lasted a whopping 10 hours.

Watch: Awake Brain Surgery Explained

He joins The Doctors to share heartwarming news. In addition to surviving his intense surgery, he also underwent a year of chemotherapy to treat the tumor and is happy to report that his scans were “as clean as they could be.”

He opens up about what it felt like to be awake for his harrowing surgery. “It was absolutely surreal to feel them inside my brain. I only remember only maybe 20 or 30 minutes of it… it was not painful,” he shares.

Watch: Brain Tumor Removal Surgery

In a rare twist of fate, Stephen, who is a student at MIT, went on to study his own tumor in a class.

“The way I had to do it was become a medical student and take a class in pathology that was linked to the hospital,” he explains. “My final project for the class was to study my own tumor.”