A craniotomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing a section of the bone from the skull in order to expose the area of pathology in the brain. The section that is removed is referred to as the bone flap. This bone flap is removed temporarily and is replaced once the craniotomy surgery is completed. Craniotomies may be performed with the assistance of computers (neuro navigation) or other imaging devices in order to access the exact location in the brain needing treatment.
A craniotomy surgery requires you to stay in hospital for up to a week. This may be followed by a stay in a rehabilitation unit if necessary. For this procedure you will be placed under general anaesthetic and your head will be held in a stable position. The surgery site will be shaved and prepared for the procedure. A skin incision is made after which a medical drill is used to make burr holes in the skull. The bone is then cut using a special surgical saw and the bone flap is removed. The dura mater (membrane covering the brain) is carefully separated from the bone and is then cut to expose the brain for surgery. At the completion of the surgery, the layers of tissue will be sewn back together and the bone flap will be replaced using plates to maintain its position. The incision will be closed with sutures or staples and the wound will be covered with a dressing. If indicated, an intra cranial pressure monitor is placed.