UW: New Brain Monitor Prevents Awakening During Surgery

Created: 01/18/2013 8:01 AM KSTP.com By: Jennie Olson

Each year, thousands of Americans go through a terrifying ordeal in the operating room – waking up during surgery.

Now, there could be a breakthrough to prevent it.

Doctors at the University of Wisconsin have created a new monitor for the brain that stimulates the brain with an electrical current. If it spreads, it means the patient is conscious. If anesthesia is working, then the current doesn’t spread.

"You're actually injecting current to the brain and finding out whether the various parts of the brain are talking to each other or not,” says Dr. Giulio Tonino of the University of Wisconsin.

Experts say that for every 1,000 patients under general anesthesia, one or two will wake up.