For individuals who suffer from complications associated with a brain disorder, there are a variety of treatment options to consider. From a “watch and see” approach to surgical intervention, brain disorder treatment is as varied as the brain disorders themselves.
As a surgical option to treating brain disorders associated with tumor development, some patients are opting for craniotomy. As a radical surgical approach, before considering a craniotomy, it is important to understand what is involved with this brain surgery procedure.
As a procedure that involves a partial removal of the skull, craniotomy opens up the brain for access to a variety of needs. For this reason, it is important to trust your surgeon as your brain, and associated cognitive functions are, literally, lying in his hands.
In a craniotomy, the hair line is usually shaven to expose the area of the brain that will be accessed. Because the incision will not immediately expose the brain, the surgeon will need to remove muscle matter, connective tissue and meningeal membranes before actually gaining access to the brain matter.
What is not commonly understood by many craniotomy patients is the need for removal of connective tissue from a donor site, to be placed in the brain area, as a way in which to patch the brain and dura after the tumor and brain matter is removed. Often, this donor site for connective tissue comes from the hip region.
Complications associated with craniotomy are, surprisingly, not related to infection. While infection is definitely a concern, the greater complication may arise from impaired neurological function due to a change in brain matter. Any changes in neurological function, associated with brain surgery, can lead to articulation and speech complications, complications associated with gait and even complications associated with respiration.
Following your craniotomy, your stay in the ICU will depend largely on the degree to which the skull and brain matter were accessed and removed and how well your vital signs are responding following surgery. In most cases, the complications associated with surgery will resolve within a few days with, in rare cases, the need for occupational or physical therapy to promote further neurological improvement.
As with any surgical procedure, the key to your successful recovery lies in the clear understanding of what will be involved in the procedure, what to expect post-operatively and how to manage complications. When suffering from complications associated with a brain disorder, and considering a craniotomy, be certain to discuss all aspects of surgery and recovery with your neurosurgeon.