What is Craniotomy?
Craniotomy is the surgical removal of a part of the bone from the skull to access the brain underneath. The section of skull which is temporarily removed is called a bone flap. Once surgery is completed it is placed back in its original position.
Why is it done?
Craniotomy is performed to treat several brain abnormalities such as:
- Aneurysm (blood vessel rupture)
- AVM (blood vessel disorder)
- Hematoma (blood clot)
- Skull fracture
- Foreign object removal
What happens during the procedure?
This procedure varies from patient to patient depending upon the condition to be treated. Generally, your head will be shaved and you will be given general anaesthesia. Then your head will be placed in a skull fixation device to hold it still during the surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision on the scalp and the flap of the skin and muscles are lifted and pulled back to expose the skull. Your surgeon will remove a small piece of skull bone (bone flap) and set it aside. Next, cut is made through dura. Having obtained the access, your surgeon performs the required surgery. Dura is closed and bone flap is reattached in its place. The skin incision site is closed.
How long will it take?
Craniotomy takes approximately 3-5 hours or longer, depending on the underlying problem for which you are being treated.
What happens after the procedure?
After surgery, you will stay in the ICU for close monitoring. Based on your recovery you will be shifted to hospital room. Your doctor will check if your body is functioning properly. You will be encouraged to walk around. You might be recommended for rehabilitation to regain your strength. On recovery, discharge will be planned and follow-up will be scheduled.
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What are the potential risks associated with the procedure?
Like any surgical procedure, Craniotomy has its own set of complications. Brain surgery risk depends upon the specific location of the brain that the operation will affect. Some of the common complications include:
- Unstable blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
- Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid
- Blood clots
- Loss of some mental function
What is clipping of cerebral aneurysm?
Cerebral aneurysm is an abnormality which weakens the wall of a blood vessel in the brain. This procedure is performed to enable a titanium clip to be placed on the neck of the aneurysm to prevent it from bleeding. A cut is made over the area where the brain needs to be opened. A segment of skull bone is removed. A titanium clip is placed across the neck of the aneurysm. If a clip is unable to completely secure the aneurysm, a small amount of gauze may be required to be wrapped around the aneurysm. The skull bone is reattached and is closed with metal plates and screws. The cut is closed with stitches or staples.
What is a craniotomy and resection of intrinsic lesion?
A craniotomy and resection of intrinsic lesion is performed to remove a lesion from within the brain. An incision is made over the area of the lesion and a segment of bone is removed. If your surgeon is unable to see the lesion on the surface of the brain, a cut is made into the brain to expose the lesion. Through a computerised navigation system, the lesion can be located. Once lesion is removed, the skull bone is put back and is closed with metal plates and screws & the cut is closed with stitches or staples.
UPDATED ON 15/11/2023