Craniotomy

Introduction

A craniotomy is a surgical procedure in which the bone flap is removed from the skull for a temporary period of time to access the brain. It is a major surgery and quite a critical one. It is performed on people who have had a serious injury in the brain or are suffering from brain lesions. It is also utilized in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, cerebral tumor, and epilepsy, in which brain stimulators are inserted in the brain through an incision made in the skull to treat these neurological disorders. It also works in brain imaging, extracellular recording, and in neurological manipulations.


When is it performed?

It is performed in the case of brain lesions, infection, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral tumor. It is also conducted for brain imaging and similar imaging processes that require the brain to be examined and accessed. Being critical in nature, it is recommended after an in-depth examination of the patient.


How is it performed?

A craniotomy is performed under general anesthesia and can take three to five hours. Before the operation, an MRI scan is conducted that helps decide the right location of bone removal. The surgeon makes an incision in the scalp and then removes the bone flap creating a cavity in the skull and then accesses the part of the brain that has to be removed. After removal, the bone flap is replaced with the help of titanium plates, screws and other types of fixations such as sutures and wire.


Recovery

The patient takes four to eight weeks to recover from the surgery. After the surgery, the patient stays in the hospital for seven to ten days or more, depending on the status of the patient. The stitches and bandages are removed after seven to ten days. In the initial days after the surgery, it is common to feel numbness and pain in the scalp. Swelling can also occur, which, when goes away, may lead to a dent in the head.