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Dr Vini Gautam Khurana- launched Awake Brain Surgery Service in Australia


NRI US trained doctor achieved world's first awake brain keyhole surgery in Australia


NRI US trained doctor, Dr Vini Gautam Khurana launched world's first awake brain keyhole surgery to remove a life-threatening aneurysm or a large blister from a patient's brain. His Awake Craniotomy Program was successfully launched on April 26, 2007 in the Canberra Hospital. It is the first formal awake craniotomy program in Australasia for patients with advanced brain tumours and cerebral blood vessel abnormalities.

According to the media report, the keyhole surgery, performed through a 1.5cm hole drilled into the patient's skull with the patient comfortably awake during the critical parts of the surgery. It was so successful that the patient was able to leave the hospital within a few days with a marked improvement in his vision.

The neurosurgeon and patient are each an essential part of the "neurosurgical team". However, to achieve optimal outcomes in complex brain microsurgery requires the exceptional input of all components of this team, including intensive care, anaesthesiology, radiology, neurology, pathology, aged care & rehabilitation, oncology, neuroscience nursing and the operating room staff, with additional support provided by patients' community physicians and Executive administrative staff.

The Canberra Hospital (TCH) campus: medical, surgical and laboratory buildings (top left); medical school (top right)

Because teamwork really counts in complex neurosurgery, dedicated multidisciplinary care is a key feature of the service provided to neurosurgery patients at The Canberra Hospital. Presented here are case-images of some of the neurosurgery patients operated by Dr Khurana and state-of-the-art technologies used by Dr Khurana and his colleagues at The Canberra Hospital.

Images are shown from Dr Khurana's patients with the following conditions: ruptured and unruptured brain aneurysms requiring surgical clipping, arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and arteriovenous fistulae (AVF) requiring surgical disconnection, severe cranial infection or trauma requiring craniotomy and cranial reconstruction, brain tumours located in highly functionally important (eloquent) or deep parts of the brain requiring meticulous surgical removal, and some craniotomies carried out in fully awake patients.

Dr Khurana and his neurosurgical colleagues provide benchmark neurosurgical care to any patient admitted to TCH Neurosurgery regardless of his or her insurance status. Patients at TCH have the choice of being admitted as "Private" or "Public" patients. Private patients from anywhere in Australia should feel free to ask about our "no-gap" option (no out-of-pocket expenses when certain Hospital-approved patients are admitted under Dr Khurana as a private patient). Whether a patient is privately insured or covered by the Australian Government through Medicare or Veterans Affairs is not as important to Dr Khurana as the patient's well being and satisfaction.

Dr Vini Gautam Khurana is a Mayo Clinic-trained neurosurgeon with an advanced neurosurgery Fellowship in cerebral vascular and tumour microsurgery from the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. He holds active medical registration with the Medical Boards of the Australian Capital Territory and the State of New South Wales, Australia. He is the only Australian medical graduate to have completed an entire neurosurgical training programme, PhD and Fellowship in the United States of America, where he trained and worked for 10 years.

His specialty interests in intracranial microsurgery include:

  • Cerebrovascular Surgery: For the surgical treatment of brain aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and cavernous malformations (cavernoma) including those involving the brainstem; brain bypass surgery; and carotid endarterectomy for carotid stenosis.
  • Complex Brain Tumour Surgery: For tumours of the skull base (including acoustic neuroma or vestibular and trigeminal Schwannoma, pituitary adenoma, cranio-pharyngioma and meningioma), brainstem and craniocervical junction.
  • Microvascular Decomp-ression (MVD): For trigeminal neuralgia (tic douloureux), hemifacial spasm and glossopharyngeal neuralgia.
  • Salvage Neurosurgery: Appropriate, aggressive surgery for "recurrent", "persistent" or "inoperable" brain tumours. Operating on astrocytoma or glioma as early as possible following diagnosis is a high priority as these tumours become more malignant with time -- "Observing" these types of tumours is not recommended by Dr Khurana.
    Minimal-Access Neuro- surgery: Using advanced intraoperative image-guidance (neuronavigation) technology and unique, comprehensively validated operative approaches to optimise the accuracy and safety of neurosurgery, and to reduce incision and craniotomy sizes to the smallest and safest possible. Dr Khurana also utilises a "minimal-shave" technique for scalp incisions. He believes minimal-access surgical approaches logically allow for safer surgery, earlier and optimal recoveries, and shorter lengths of stay.
  • Awake Brain Surgery-Awake Craniotomy: For CERTAIN (select) patients with tumours or vascular malformations in highly eloquent (highly functionally important) parts of the brain, Dr Khurana and his team offer a specialised and successful Awake Brain Surgery/Awake Craniotomy Service as a means of obtaining as complete a resection as possible while having the patient awake, pain-free and comfortable and neurologically testable during ONLY the critical parts of the surgery. For all other parts of the operation, the patient is kept asleep.

    His Parenets were doctors and his brother is a Fulbright scholar at Harvard studying Neurology. Dr. Khurana moved to Australia with parents when he was 2.5 years old.

  • He is a staff specialist neurosurgeon at the Canberra Hospital and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery for Australian National University Medical School.
  • Due to roots in India and attachement with relatives in India, he has applied for permission to conduct surgery and teach at the Saibaba Charitable hospital in Bangalore. He is very interested to tie with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi as his parents were trained there




Dr Vini Gautam Khurana

Dr Vini Gautam Khurana launched world's first awake brain keyhole surgery to remove a life-threatening aneurysm or a large blister from a patient's brain.