ICD-9-CM 01.2
MeSH D003399

A craniotomy is a surgical operation in which a bone flap is temporarily removed from the skull to access the brain. Craniotomies are often a critical operation performed on patients recording, brain imaging, and for neurological manipulations such as electrical stimulation and chemical titration.

Human craniotomy is usually performed under general anesthesia but can be also done with the patient awake using a local anaesthetic; the procedure generally does not involve significant discomfort for the patient. In general, a craniotomy will be preceded by an MRI scan which provides a picture of the brain that the surgeon uses to plan the precise location for bone removal and the appropriate angle of access to the relevant brain areas. The amount of skull that needs to be removed depends to a large extent on the type of surgery being performed. The bone flap is then replaced using titanium plates and screws or another form of fixation (wire, suture, ...etc).

Craniotomy is distinguished from craniectomy (in which the skull flap is not immediately replaced, allowing the brain to swell, thus reducing intracranial pressure) and from trepanation, the creation of a burr hole through the cranium in to the dura mater.


Post-Surgery Complications

Bacterial meningitis occurs in approximately 0.8 to 1.5% of individuals undergoing craniotomy.[1] Postcraniotomy pain is frequent and moderate-to-severe in nature. This pain has been controlled through the use of: scalp infiltrations, nerve scalp blocks, parexocibs, and morphine - morphine being the most effective in providing analgelsia.[2]

It is also common to give patients seven days of anti-seizure medications post operatively. Traditionally this has been Phenytoin, but now is increasingly Levetiracetam due to it have fewer drug-drug interactions [3][4].

See also


  1. ^ van de Beek D, Drake JM, Tunkel AR (January 2010). "Nosocomial Bacterial Meningitis". New England Journal of Medicine 362 (2): 146–154. doi:10.1056/NEJMra0804573. PMID 20071704. 
  2. ^ Hansen, Morten S; Brennum, Jannick; Moltke, Finn B.; Dahl, Jørgen B. (December 2011). "Pain treatment after craniotomy: where is the (procedure-specific) evidence? A qualitative systematic review". European Journal of Anaesthesiology 28 (12): 821–829. doi:10.1097/EJA.0b013e32834a0255. 
  3. ^ Szaflarski, J. P; K. S Sangha, C. J Lindsell, L. A Shutter (2010). "Prospective, randomized, single-blinded comparative trial of intravenous levetiracetam versus phenytoin for seizure prophylaxis". Neurocritical care 12 (2): 165-172. 
  4. ^ Temkin, N. R; S. S Dikmen, A. J Wilensky, J. Keihm, S. Chabal, H. R Winn (1990). "A randomized, double-blind study of phenytoin for the prevention of post-traumatic seizures". New England Journal of Medicine 323 (8): 497-502. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Craniotomy — Cra ni*ot o*my (kr? n? ?t ? m?), n. [Cranium + Gr. ???? to cut off.] (Med.) The operation of opening the fetal head, in order to effect delivery. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • craniotomy — 1855, from CRANIO (Cf. cranio ) + TOMY (Cf. tomy) …   Etymology dictionary

  • craniotomy — [krā΄nē ät′ə mē] n. pl. craniotomies the surgical operation of opening the skull, as for brain operations or in childbirth …   English World dictionary

  • craniotomy — noun (plural mies) Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: 1855 surgical opening of the skull …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • craniotomy — /kray nee ot euh mee/, n., pl. craniotomies. Surg. the operation of opening the skull, usually for operations on the brain. [1850 55; CRANIO + TOMY] * * * …   Universalium

  • craniotomy — noun The surgical procedure for removing a part of the skull, called a bone flap, prior to a treatment. The bone flap is replaced at the end of the operation …   Wiktionary

  • craniotomy — 1. Opening into the skull. 2. Formerly used operation for perforation of the head of the fetus, removal of the contents, and compression of the empty skull, when delivery by natural means is impossible. [cranio + G. tome, incision] attached c. c …   Medical dictionary

  • craniotomy — n. surgical opening of the skull …   English contemporary dictionary

  • craniotomy — [ˌkreɪnɪ ɒtəmi] noun a surgical removal of part of the skull, performed in order to operate on the brain …   English new terms dictionary

  • craniotomy — cra·ni·ot·o·my …   English syllables

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