The surgical removal of part of the skull bone, with specialized tools, to access the brain is called a craniotomy. After the brain surgery is completed, the flap of bone removed is replaced. A craniotomy is performed in preparation for a wide variety of surgical brain procedures as it provides an entrance point for other critical procedures.
Types of Craniotomies
This procedure uses the guidance of computers and imaging technology. This procedure uses either a frame placed onto the head or a frameless system and produces a 3D image of the area to be addressed to distinguish it from healthy tissue.
This procedure is used to remove lesions that are too difficult to address with more minimally invasive steps. Although this approach removes a larger portion of the bone that forms the area of the orbit and cheek, it is replaced at the end of surgery. This type of craniotomy allows our surgeons to reach deeper into more difficult parts of the brain with a minimum of risk.
Extended bifrontal craniotomy
This procedure is used to access difficult tumors lodged near the front of the brain. While more bone is removed, the brain requires less manipulation. This procedure is often chosen when tumors need to be removed for which there are no minimally invasive approaches.
Used to remove brain tumors, this procedure requires a small incision within the eyebrow to access tumors in the front of the brain (pituitary tumors). It is used when a tumor is very large or too close to the optic nerves; however, it is considered a minimally invasive procedure.
Also known as retro-sigmoid craniotomy. This is a minimally-invasive procedure that removes skull-based tumors through a small incision behind the ear. Our surgeons may select this procedure to remove meningiomas and acoustic neuromas.
This procedure removes the mastoid bone and some of the inner ear bone to get through to the tumor with a minimum of risk of facial nerve injury.
This procedure inserts a lighted scope and camera into the brain through a small opening in the skull.
Reasons for the craniotomy procedure
- Relieving pressure within the brain that may be caused by trauma or stroke.
- Diagnosing, treating or removing brain tumors.
- Treating an aneurysm.
- Removing blood or clots from a blood vessel in the brain.
- Removing an AVM or arteriovenous fistula.
- Draining a brain abscess.
- Repairing fractures in the skull from traumatic accidents.
- Treating tears in the brains membrane lining.
- Treating epilepsy.
- Implanting stimulator devices for a variety of disorder modifications.
What is the recovery time for a craniotomy?
This procedure requires a hospital stay from three days to a week, with monitoring to ensure there are no complications. Depending on the operation performed, you may also be required to go to a rehabilitation unit to exercise and reestablish motor controls relative to the area that was operated on.
Most craniotomies heal fast and more importantly, enable the underlying surgery to produce the most favorable outcomes.