Burr Holes and Craniotomy

What are Burr Holes and Craniotomy?

A Craniotomy is an operation that involves opening the skull to correct a problem in the brain or the layer around the brain. Craniotomies are performed for a variety of reasons, such as blood clots causing pressure on the brain, brain tumors, skull defects, etc. Sometimes, blood can be drained from the space between the brain and the skull through small holes, Burr Holes.

Depending on the diagnosis and problem, an operating microscope may be used to facilitate the surgery. The operating microscope provides additional light and magnification, making the surgery safer. Sometimes, a Neuro-navigation system is used to precisely localize a lesion in the brain. Neuro-navigation is a computerized system working with CT or MRI scans similar to the way GPS (Global Positioning System) works with roadmaps in automobiles.

Description of Surgery:

Intravenous antibiotics are administered before surgery to decrease the risk of infection. You will be anesthetized (put to sleep). Exact position on the operating table depends on the area of the skull that needs to be opened. An incision is made. Equipment for opening the skull is then used. After exposing the region, the operation becomes more specific for the problem being treated. If needed, the operating microscope and neuro-navigation are used at this point. After completing the procedure inside the skull, a drain may be placed. If a section of skull was removed, it is repositioned and the scalp incision is sutured. The skin is closed with stitches or staples. A sterile dressing is placed over the incision. Sometimes, a thick head wrap may be applied. You will then be placed on your back in a hospital bed. The breathing tube will be removed (extubated) and you will be taken to the recovery room.