CraniotomyA craniotomy is the surgical procedure to remove a part of skull bone (bone flap) in order to expose the underlying brain to perform a surgery. After the brain surgery, the bone flap is placed back.

Craniotomy procedure is used to:

  • Remove brain tumor
  • Remove a blood clot and control hemorrhage
  • Aneurysms or AVMs
  • Treat skull fractures
  • To remove foreign objects like bullets
  • To treat swelling or infection in the brain
  • To inspect the brain
  • To perform biopsy
  • To relieve pressure inside the skull

How is Craniotomy done?

The surgeon may use any of the two ways to open the skull – either makes an incision in front of the ear, towards the eye or at the nape of neck. The specialist marks with a tip pen a substantial square fold on the scalp that covers the surgical range and makes an incision following this mark. The surgeon seals many small arteries in the process and then folds back skin flap exposing skull bone. He/she then drills holes in the skull and perform the required surgery. After the surgery the skull piece is replaced using fine soft wire and the surgeon sutures the membrane, and scalp skin.

Recovery after Craniotomy

You would be on oxygen, drips, a catheter in your bladder, and medications. You will be able to move in a day’s time while the hospital stay is of over a week. Your bandage on the skull is changed regularly. Sutures are removed within week and avoid getting the scalp wet until all the sutures are removed.


Though not very common, craniotomy involves some risks of brain damage, temporary or permanent stroke (paralysis of limbs or loss of speech), infection, swelling, and bleeding.

Also read: Top 10 Facts about Brain Health

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