A craniotomy removes part of the skull to access the brain for surgery.
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Reasons for Procedure
The most common reasons for a craniotomy are:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
- Excess bleeding
- Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
- Blood clots
- Brain swelling
- Heart attack
- Damage to the brain that may cause:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Problems To Look Out For
Call your doctor if you have:
- Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicine given
- Redness, swelling, a lot of bleeding, or any discharge from the incision
- Headache that does not go away or a stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in balance, strength, or movement
- Changes in vision
- Loss of bladder or bowel function
- Problems with thinking
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the face, arms, or legs
Call for medical help right away if you have:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Loss of consciousness
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
- Anesthesia options
- Any allergies you may have
- Medicines, herbs, and supplements that you are taking and if you need to stop taking them before surgery
- Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
- Setting up a ride to and from surgery
- Tests that will need to be done before surgery, such as images of the brain
- Brain tumor surgery guide. Cedars Sinai website. Available at: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/programs/neurology-neurosurgery/clinical/brain-tumor/surgery-guide.html.
- Craniotomy. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/craniotomy.
- Lukas, R.V. and Mrugala, M.M. Pivotal therapeutic trials for infiltrating gliomas and how they affect clinical practice. Neurooncol Pract, 2017; 4 (4): 209-219.
- Suspected surgical site infection - approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/suspected-surgical-site-infection-approach-to-the-patient.
- Young, J.S., Chmura, S.J., et al. Management of glioblastoma in elderly patients. J Neurol Sci, 2017; 380: 250-255.
- Rimas Lukas, MD
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