Brain Tumor Surgery

Brain Tumor Surgery

Brain Tumor Surgery
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Brain Tumor Surgery


Brain surgery is an operation to treat problems in the brain and surrounding structures.


Before surgery, the hair on that part of the scalp is shaved off and the area is cleaned. The doctor makes a surgical cut through the scalp. The location of this cut (incision) depends on where the problem in the brain is located.

The doctor creates a hole in the skull and removes a bone flap.

If possible, the doctor will make a smaller hole and insert a tube with a light and camera on the end. This is called an endoscope. The surgery will be performed with tools placed through the endoscope. MRI or CT scan can aid in guiding the doctor to the right place in the brain.

During surgery, your doctor may:

Clip off an aneurysm to avoid bleeding

Remove a tumor or a piece of tumor for a biopsy

Remove abnormal brain tissue

Drain blood or an infection

Free a nerve

Take a sample of brain tissue to aid in diagnosing nervous system diseases

The bone flap is usually replaced after surgery using small metal plates, sutures, or wires. This brain surgery is called a craniectomy.

The bone flap may not be replaced if your surgery involved a tumor or an infection, or if the brain was swollen. This brain surgery is called a craniectomy. The bone flap may be replaced during a future operation.

The amount of time it takes for the surgery depends on the problem being treated.

Why the Procedure is Done

Brain surgery may be performed if you have:

Brain tumor

Bleeding (hemorrhage) in the brain

Blood clots (hematomas) in the brain

Weaknesses in blood vessels

Abnormal blood vessels in the brain

Damage to tissues covering the brain

Infections in the brain (brain abscesses)

Severe nerve or face pain (like trigeminal neuralgia or tic douloureux)

Skull fracture

Pressure in the brain after an injury or stroke


Certain brain diseases (like Parkinson disease) that may be helped with an implanted electronic tool

Hydrocephalus (brain swelling)


Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general are:

Reactions to medicines

Problems breathing

Bleeding, blood clots, infection

Possible risks of brain surgery include:

Problems with speech, memory, muscle weakness, balance, vision, coordination and other functions. These problems are temporary.

Blood clot or bleeding in the brain.




Infection in the brain, wound, or skull.

Brain swelling.

Before the Procedure

Your doctor will examine you, and may demand for laboratory and imaging tests.

Inform your doctor or nurse:

If you are pregnant

What medications you are taking, supplements, vitamins, or herbs you bought without a prescription

If you have been drinking a lot of alcohol

If you take aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen

If you have allergies or reactions to medicines or iodine

During the days prior to the surgery:

You may be asked to temporarily stop taking blood thinning medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen or warfarin.

Ask your doctor which medications to still take on the day of the surgery.

Try to stop smoking. Smoking can slow healing after your operation. Ask your doctor for help.

Your doctor or nurse may ask you to wash your hair with a special shampoo the night before the operation.

On the day of the surgery

You will probably be asked not to drink or eat anything for 8 to 12 hours before the surgery.

Take the medications your doctor said you should take with a small sip of water.

Arrive at the hospital on time.

After the Procedure

After surgery, you will be closely monitored to make sure your brain is working properly. The doctor or nurse may ask you questions, shine a light in your eyes and tell you to perform simple tasks. You may need oxygen for a few days.

The head of your bed will be kept raised to help decrease swelling of your face or head. The swelling is normal after surgery.

Medicines will be given to relieve pain.

You will usually stay in the hospital for three to seven days. You may need physical therapy (rehabilitation).

When you get home, follow any self-care instructions you're given.

Outlook (Prognosis)

How well you do after brain surgery depends on the condition being treated, your overall health, which part of the brain is involved, and the type of surgery.

Alternative Names

Craniotomy; Surgery - brain; Neurosurgery; Craniectomy; Stereotactic craniotomy; Stereotactic brain biopsy; Endoscopic craniotomy

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