Frequently Asked Questions !!
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Brain and Cranial Neurosurgery Information… What can I expect?
We understand that having neurosurgery, or an operation on your brain, can be a confronting and scary experience for patients and their families. Although we would all like to avoid surgery, unfortunately for some people it will be necessary in order to best manage your condition. The following information serves to provide a general outline of what you can expect when undergoing cranial or brain surgery, and also serves to allay any fears or misconceptions you may have about the experience. Dr Sachin Jindal and his staff are very experienced in the process from beginning to end and will support you through your recovery.
It is common to have some discomfort around the wound following surgery, however, this is usually easily controlled with simple pain medication. Some patients can also have a headache as the linings of the brain can be irritated by blood products and air. Interestingly, the skull and brain do not contain pain nerves, so surgery on the head is not as painful as many patients might imagine.
Most patients are in hospital between 3 and 5 days following cranial surgery. You will not be discharged to your home unless you are absolutely safe and at no risk. Sometimes patients might need some time in rehabilitation prior to going home.
Head shaves are required for cranial procedures. Positioning the wound is done as much as is safely possible, to minimise any cosmetic concerns you might have.
The location of your incision will depend on the procedure you are having and the location of the problem.We always minimise the size of the incision and attempt to place the incision in a cosmetically favourable position.
If you have surgery there will always be a scar. the size of the incision is minimized and attempt is done to place the incision in a cosmetically favourable position so that the scar is not obvious. Fortunately the scalp heals very well so scars tend not to be that visible. It is very unusual to have an incision on your face so your facial features should not be afffected.
Most patients will need to have a new MRI scan within 24 hours prior to surgery. This is used as a planning scan and to ensure nothing has changed with your condition before your operation. If you are unable to have an MRI generally a CT scan is sufficient. It is important that you bring all of your previous radiology films with you to hospital.
With modern techniques most cranial neurosurgical procedures can be performed without any serious complications. However, like any surgical procedure there are risks associated with the anaesthetic and the procedure itself. Although surgery is generally safe, there are some risks whenever performing a craniotomy. These include:
- Infection 1-2%
- Seizures which can require taking medication. Rarely this can lead to epilepsy requiring longterm medication.
- Bleeding. This can occur at the time of surgery and may necessitate a blood transfusion. It can also occur at some time after surgery. The bleeding may be present in the brain or adjacent to it. Sometimes another operation is required to drain the bloodclot and stop the bleeding.
- Brain fluid leak (CSF leak)