Like other body parts, the brain is also vulnerable to bleeding, infection, and other forms of damage. Damage or changes in function in the brain sometimes require surgical procedures. Craniotomy is one procedure that can be done.
Craniotomy is a process of brain surgery that is done by opening the skull to repair the disorder that occurs. Craniotomy is not a small operation, so you need to know some important information about this operation before undergoing it.
Diseases that can be treated with craniotomy
You will be given the option to undergo craniotomy if you experience the following conditions:
Severe head injury, a life-threatening condition that must be treated immediately in hospital. The doctor will examine the symptoms that arise to determine the severity. This condition can be accompanied by injury to brain tissue, or bleeding in the brain, thus requiring craniotomy.
In the condition of cerebral hemorrhage, craniotomy can be performed to treat bleeding and remove blood clots.
In stroke with bleeding inside the head cavity, craniotomy surgery can be done to stop and treat bleeding.
Craniotomy process in brain aneurysms, can help prevent the rupture of blood vessels in the brain, and as a treatment if there has been bleeding due to aneurysm rupture.
In brain tumors, this operation is needed as a step to remove tumors that cause brain function disorders.
Craniotomy is needed in brain abscesses, when other methods of treatment have been done but do not give good results, to help remove pus from the abscess or source of infection.
Hydrocephalus occurs because of a buildup of fluid in the cavities (ventricles) in the brain. This excess fluid increases the size of the ventricles and puts pressure on the brain. Craniotomy is performed to help reduce the pressure.
In Parkinson’s disease, craniotomy is needed to implant a stimulant to help improve the body movements of Parkinson’s sufferers.
More than 50 percent of epilepsy has no known cause, while the rest is caused by diseases that cause disorders of the brain and require craniotomy surgery.
Understanding Stages of Craniotomy Operations
There are three stages in craniotomy surgery, namely preoperative, operative, and post-operative processes. Especially in the postoperative stage, patients are expected to follow the doctor’s instructions.
If your condition requires a craniotomy, the first thing you will go through is doing a CT scan to see the location of the part of your brain that requires a craniotomy procedure. At this stage there will also be an examination of nerve function and will be asked to undergo fasting for 8 hours. Make sure you have given information on the treatment being undertaken, as well as the history of allergies that you have.
During the surgery, a craniotomy will begin by cutting the scalp layer which is then clamped and pulled to clarify the condition inside. Then the skull bones will be drilled. After the section is finished, the skull bones will be cut using a special saw. The next step, the bone is removed and the doctor begins to access the part of the brain that needs to be treated. After the opening of the skull has been completed, the part of the brain that is damaged or problems will be repaired, even removed. When the procedure is completed, the bones and scalp will be reattached using surgical sutures, wires or staples. However, if you have a tumor in the skull or high head cavity pressure, then the closure of the bone may not be done immediately.
Postoperatively, your doctor will monitor your condition and do things like asking you to lie on your head higher than your feet, to prevent your head and face from swelling. Once stable, you will be trained to take deep breaths to restore lung function. The doctor will also conduct an examination and provide therapy for the nervous system. And before you go home, the doctor will teach you several ways to maintain the clean area of the surgical wound.
During recovery, you need lots of rest for a few weeks until your energy recovers. You also need to pay close attention to the activities undertaken. Do not drive a vehicle or lift weights that are too heavy to prevent strain on the former incision. Wait until the doctor allows you to do these things.
Risk of Craniotomy Surgery
Similar to a variety of other operations, craniotomy also has risks during the operation and postoperative processes. Various risks of complications that may occur in craniotomy surgery, including:
- Bleeding or blood clots
- The brain swells
- Unstable blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of consciousness
In addition, if in postoperative craniotomy you can experience a number of things, such as seizures, difficulty speaking, weakened arms or legs, decreased vision ability, body becomes feverish or shivering, the surgical scar is bleeding or festering, immediately consult a doctor for treatment related right.
The decision to perform a craniotomy procedure must be done carefully. Ask for as much explanation from the neurosurgeon as possible, so that you are better prepared to undergo craniotomy and the possible risks.