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Health Encylopedia

Brain surgery
Definition Brain surgery treats lesions of the brain and its surrounding structures through an opening (craniotomy) in the skull (cranium).
Alternative Names Craniotomy; Surgery - brain; Neurosurgery
Description The hair on part of the scalp is shaved. The scalp is cleansed and prepared for surgery. An incision is made through the scalp and a hole is drilled through the skull. A piece of the skull is removed (usually temporarily) and the surgery is performed, after which the bone is replaced and secured in place.
Indications Brain surgery may be needed to treat:
  • brain tumors
  • bleeding
  • (hemorrhage) or
  • blood clots ( hematomas ) from injuries ( subdural hematoma or epidural hematomas)
  • weaknesses in blood vessels (cerebral
  • aneurysms )
  • arteriovenous malformations (AVM; abnormal blood vessels)
  • damage to tissues covering the brain (dura)
  • pockets of infection in the brain (
  • brain abscesses )
  • severe nerve or
  • facial pain (such as trigeminal neuralgia or tic douloureux )
  • trauma to the skull and repair of skull fractures
  • Risks Risks for any anesthesia are:
  • reactions to medications
  • problems breathing
  • Risks for any surgery are:
  • bleeding
  • infection
  • Additional risks of brain surgery are:
  • injury to brain tissue
  • injury to blood vessels
  • nerve or muscle
  • paralysis or weakness
  • loss of mental functions (memory, speech, understanding)
  • Expectations after surgery The results depend greatly on the underlying disease being treated, the general health of the patient, the extent of the procedure and the surgical techniques employed.
    Convalescence Varies from 1 to 4 weeks. Full recovery may take up to 8 weeks.

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