Patients Instruction following Craniotomy
You will need a follow up appointment is with Dr.
_______________________________________, in _______________________.
O Call 412-623-6910 to make
O An Appointment has been
made at the following office location ___________________on _________________ at
To have sutures/staples removed in 7 to 10 days, on
Location of suture/staple removal
Phone number ____________________; Date of Head CTS/MRI is ________________.
You have just undergone a surgical procedure called a craniotomy. This may
have been done for the following reasons:
- Brain Tumor – Craniotomy is often done to obtain a biopsy, partial
resection or complete resection (removal) of tumor.
- Blood vessel abnormality – Craniotomy is often done to remove or
clamp an abnormal blood vessel in your brain. ( such as a aneurysm, AVM,
The physician who performed this operation has given specific instructions
for your recovery. The information included in this instruction sheet is only an
outline of some important information on your activities and possible concerns
during your recovery. Please contact your physician about any addition questions
or concerns not covered in the discharge sheet or if any information provided
here differs form your physicians verbal instructions.
As with any major surgery, especially with the brain, you must allow your
body time to recover following such a procedure. It may take a month or more
before you gain your energy level. It is very important to obtain the extra rest
you need during this recovery period in order to allow the healing process to
occur. The following is a list or activities and restrictions that should be
used as a guide for your recovery.
- You should have a family member or friend stay with you for the first few
days following your discharge.
- Get plenty of rest, i.e. Sleep in late, take naps, go to bed early.
- Avoid keeping your head flat, prop it up with extra pillows.
- You may take short walks, but avoid heat, humidity, or extreme cold. Stop if
you become fatigued or if you are in pain.
- No heavy lifting, use your knees when bending.
- Your head may be washed five days from the surgery date in most
using hairdryers, creams or ointments on your suture line unless otherwise
instructed. Cover your head in the sun.
- Avoid driving until your surgeon gives your permission.
- Avoid cigarette, and cigar smoke.
- You may resume your regular diet.
- It is important to avoid junk food and alcoholic beverages, and maintain
Take prescribed medications as directed. Notify your physician before taking
over the counter medications.
You may be sent home with prescriptions for the medications you have been
taking in the hospital these medications may include the following:
- Pain relief: (Lorcet, Percocet, Darvocet, Tylenol with codeine) these
medications are used to reduce the amount of headache and incisional pain
that may be present after surgery.
- Antiswelling: (Steroids; Decadron, Medrol, Hydrocortisone) this medication
is used to decrease the amount of post-operative brain swelling that might
occur following the surgery.
- Antiacid: (Pepcid, Axid, Zantac, Prilosec) this medication is used to
decrease the amount of excess stomach acid which may be caused by steroids
(see above) or from the stress of surgery.
- Anti-seizure: (Dilantin, Phenobarb, Tegretol, Depakote) this medication is
given to almost all patients before, during and after a craniotomy in order
to help reduce the risk of seizure. There still is a seizure risk despite
these medications and your physician may need to adjust the dose of
medication by using periodic blood tests.
Your discharge medications are:
Notify your doctor or go to the local emergency department if you experience
any of the following:
- Signs of infection (pus or discharge of any type)
- Clear fluid seepage from the incision
- Fever or Chills
- Any new deficits, (i.e. Weakness, vision changes, speech or swallowing
- Report all changes (i.e. Seizures, drowsiness, confusion, weakness, and
- Call your doctor with any questions or concerns or if you are unsure about
what symptoms should be examined in the emergency department.