Recent trends in the anesthetic management of craniotomy for supratentorial tumor resection

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Purpose of review

The article reviews the recent evidence on the anesthetic management of patients undergoing craniotomy for supratentorial tumor resection.

Recent findings

A rapid recovery of neurological function after craniotomy for supratentorial tumor allows for the prompt diagnosis of intracranial complications and possibly an early hospital discharge. Intraoperative esmolol infusion was shown to reduce the anesthetic requirements, and may facilitate a more rapid recovery of neurological function. Outpatient craniotomy for supratentorial tumor resection has been associated with several clinical and economic benefits, but has not gained widespread use because of skepticism and medical-legal concerns. Awake craniotomy is associated with advantageous outcomes compared with surgery under general anesthesia, and is regarded as the standard of care for tumors that reside in or in close proximity to the eloquent brain. Recent studies have demonstrated that intraoperative electroacupuncture, dexmedetomidine, pregabalin, and lidocaine may facilitate postcraniotomy pain management. The use of volatile anesthetic agents in cancer surgery is associated with a worse survival compared with intravenous anesthetics, possibly by hindering immunologic defenses against cancer cells.


Recent evidence has yielded valuable information regarding anesthetic management of patients undergoing supratentorial tumor craniotomy. Despite a plethora of studies that compare short-term outcomes using different anesthetic and analgesic regimens, randomized controlled trials that examine the long-term outcomes (i.e., neurocognitive function, quality of life, tumor recurrence, and survival) that are of particular interest to patients are needed.

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