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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Craniotomy
      Category : Health Centers > Brain and Nervous System


Alternate Names : Brain Surgery

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

A craniotomy is a type of surgery done to open part of the skull, or cranium. This procedure is needed when a person has a condition or injury that affects the brain, its tissues, or its blood vessels.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

A craniotomy allows the surgeon to do the following:

  • remove a lesion, such as a brain tumor
  • remove a blood clot, such as a chronic subdural hematoma
  • repair a leaking blood vessel, known as an cerebral aneurysm
  • remove an abnormal collection of blood vessels, known as arteriovenous malformation, or AVM
  • drain a pocket of pus, also called a brain abscess
  • repair skull fractures caused by a head injury
  • repair a tear in the membrane lining the brain
  • relieve pressure within the brain, which is also called increased intracranial pressure
  • How is the procedure performed?

    A craniotomy is performed under general anesthesia. This means the person is put to sleep with medication and cannot feel any pain. The hair on part or all of the scalp is shaved. An incision is made in the scalp over the area of the suspected condition or disorder. A flap of the bone is cut away from the skull and set aside during the surgery. The disorder is located and treated. The bone flap is replaced, and the scalp is closed with sutures or clips.


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    Craniotomy: Preparation & Expectations

    Author: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/13/01

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