There are a lot of surgical procedures performed every day. Some of them are more serious than others. In general, a surgery that involves the brain or spine is considered serious because these are critical components to our wellbeing and a procedural error could be catastrophic to our health.
A craniotomy is a brain surgery that involves the temporary removal of bone from the skull to make repairs in the brain. It is highly intensive and comes with certain risks, which make it a serious surgery. However, when performed by the right surgeon, a craniotomy is a safe procedure that can most definitely help save your life.
Let’s take a look at what exactly a craniotomy procedure entails.
The Purpose of Craniotomy Surgery
The purpose of a craniotomy is to give surgeon access to a patient’s head under the skull. In order to do this, a part of the skull (bone flap) is removed temporarily so the surgeon has access to parts of the head under it. A craniotomy can be performed for a variety of reasons, including to remove brain tumors or blood clots, fix arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), repair an aneurysm, drain brain abscesses, and to repair skull fractures and tears in the membrane lining.
A craniotomy may also be recommended as part of treatment for epilepsy and for the implantation of stimulator devices in the brain for patients with Parkinson’s Disease.
For precision, surgeons may use CT or MRI scans to guide them during a craniotomy surgery. This type of surgery is called a stereotactic or image-guided craniotomy.
Craniotomy surgery may be serious, but it is necessary for a lot of different procedures that could save you from life-threatening issues. While it is something you shouldn’t take lightly, there are highly qualified physicians who have a wealth of experience performing craniotomy procedures successfully. If you choose a well-qualified and experienced surgeon to perform your craniotomy, rest assured that you are in good hands.
Craniotomy Surgery Procedure
The first step is for an anesthesiologist to administer anesthesia and monitor your vitals throughout the procedure. Then, the nurse will shave the part of the head the surgeon will operate on. The surgeon will make an incision in the head to get access to the skull. Afterward, the surgeon will use a medical drill to burrow a hole in the skull and remove part of the bone to get access inside. The flap will be saved to be put back later on or replaced with an artificial bone. The dura matter will be separated from the skull bone to access the brain inside. At this point, the surgeon can make the necessary repairs and removals depending on your condition and needs. Once complete, the surgeon will sew the tissues together and reattach the bone flap or replace it with an artificial piece. Finally, the incision will be closed with sutures or staples and then bandaged.
After the surgery, you will be transferred to an ICU for monitoring, followed by a neurosurgical nursing unit and rehabilitation facility. A craniotomy requires a hospital stay for a few days. Patients who undergo craniotomy require rehabilitation after the procedure, which includes meeting with occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists, if necessary.
Neurosurgeon Specializing in Craniotomy in Colorado
Our board-certified surgeons at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cranial conditions and tumors. We perform highly advanced minimally-invasive surgeries to treat a broad range of neurological conditions.
But more than our neurosurgery skills, we are above all, a compassionate, patient-centric practice. It is our belief that an informed patient is the best patient. We want you to be comfortable with your treatment and make sure you know all the details prior to making decisions about your health.
Conditions that affect the brain are serious and require medical attention as soon as possible. If you need surgery such as a craniotomy, we would love to help. Make an appointment with one of our highly qualified and experienced surgeons by calling (303) 790-1800 or request an appointment today.