A craniotomy is surgery to open your skull to fix a problem in your brain. It can be done for many reasons. For example, you may need a craniotomy if your brain or blood vessels are damaged or if you have a tumour or an infection in your brain.
You will probably feel very tired for several weeks after surgery. You may also have headaches or problems concentrating. It can take 4 to 8 weeks to recover from surgery.
Your cuts (incisions) may be sore for about 5 days after surgery. You may also have numbness and shooting pains near your wound, or swelling and bruising around your eyes. As your wound starts to heal, it may begin to itch. Medicines and ice packs can help with headaches, pain, swelling, and itching.
The stitches that hold your incisions together may go away on their own or will be removed in 7 to 10 days. This depends on the type of stitches the doctor uses.
It is common for your scalp to swell with fluid. After the swelling goes down, you may have a dent in your head.
Some kinds of plates stay attached to hold the skull flap to your head. If your head was shaved, you may want to wear hats or scarves on your head until your hair grows back. Or, it may not bother you.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter I325 in the search box to learn more about "Craniotomy: What to Expect at Home".
Current as of: November 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
©2006-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.