Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
Bookmark and Share

Related Information

Search Health Information   
 

Brain surgery - discharge

Alternate Names

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

When You Were in the Hospital

Your doctor made an incision in your scalp and then drilled a small hole or removed a piece of your skull bone. Surgery was done to:

  • Correct a problem with a blood vessel, or
  • Remove a tumor or other abnormality along the surface of the brain or in the brain tissue itself

You have spent some time in the intensive care unit and some more time in a regular hospital room. You may be taking new medicines.

What to Expect at Home

You will probably notice itchiness, pain, burning, and numbness along your surgical incision. You may hear a clicking sound where the bone is slowly re-attaching. Complete healing of the bone may take 6 to 12 months.

You may have headaches. You may notice this more with deep breathing, coughing, or being active. You may have less energy when you get home. This may last for several months.

You will probably have a small amount of fluid underneath the skin near your incision. The swelling may be worse in the morning when you wake up.

You may go home taking anti-seizure drugs.

If you had a brain aneurysm, you may also have other symptoms or problems.

Self-care

Take only the pain relievers your doctor or nurse recommends. Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), and some other drugs you may buy at the store may cause bleeding.

You can eat your normal diet, unless your doctor or nurse gives you a special diet.

Slowly increase your activity. Start out with walking. It may take up to 3 weeks to get all of your energy back.

  • Use hand railings when you are on stairways.
  • Do not lift more than 20 pounds for the first 2 months.
  • Try not to bend over from your waist. It puts pressure on your head. Bend with your knees instead.

Ask your doctor when you may begin driving. You may have sexual activity, but take it easy when you first get home.

Get enough rest. Sleep more at night, and take naps during the day. Also, take short rest periods during the day.

Wound Care

Keep the incision clean and dry.

  • Wear a shower cap when you shower or bathe until your surgeon takes out any stitches or staples.
  • Afterward, gently wash your incision, rinse well, and pat dry.
  • Always change the bandage if it gets wet or dirty.

You may wear a loose hat or turban on your head if you like. Do not use a wig for 3 to 4 weeks.

Do not put any creams or lotions on or around your incision. Do not use hair products with harsh chemicals (coloring, bleach, perms, or straighteners) for 3 to 4 weeks.

You may place ice wrapped in a towel where you had your surgery to help reduce swelling or pain. Never sleep on an ice pack.

Sleep with your head raised on several pillows. This will also help reduce swelling.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Fever of 101 °F or chills
  • Redness, swelling, discharge, pain, or bleeding from the incision or the incision comes open
  • Headache that does not go away and is not relieved by medicines the doctor gave you
  • Vision changes (double vision, blind spots in your vision)
  • Problems thinking straight, confusion, or more sleepiness than usual
  • Weakness in your arms or legs that you did not have before
  • New problems walking or keeping your balance
  • A hard time waking up
  • Seizure
  • Fluid or blood dripping into your throat
  • New or worsening problem speaking
  • Shortness of breath, chest pain, or are coughing up more mucus
  • Swelling around your wound or underneath your scalp that does not go away within 2 weeks or is getting worse
  • Side effects to a medication. Don't stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first.

References

Gasco J, Mohanty A, Hanbali F, Patterson JT. Neurosurgey. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 68.


Review Date: 9/6/2012
Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
 

Medical Care

Cancer
Pregnancy & Prenatal Classes
Weight Loss
Orthopedics
Heart Disease
Neurology
Women's Health
More Medical Care

Locations

Hospitals
Immediate Care
Health Centers
Emergency Room
Doctors Offices
Specialists
Affiliate Hospitals

Patients and Visitors

MyChart
Pay Your Bill
Request an Appointment
Get Healthy
Support Groups
Fitness Groups
Mobile Applications
Clinical Trials
Online Nursery
Classes and Events
Send an eCard
Patient Stories
Places to Stay

About Us

Quality Report 
Careers
Ways to Help
Community Outreach
Contact Us
(502) 629-1234

Connect with us

© 2014 Norton Healthcare
Serving Kentucky and Southern Indiana