One of the procedures in which the
neurosurgical teams of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center specialize is craniotomy.
Craniotomy involves opening of the skull in order to treat various neurological diseases, head injuries, and medical conditions, such as brain tumors - benign or malignant - that may be pressing on the brain and causing symptoms such as headaches or confusion.
Craniotomy procedure may also be performed to fix vascular brain malformations (e.g. cerebral aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations - AVMs), to fix local traumas such as fractures, local intracranial bleeding, or intra-cerebral brain infections and abscesses, or to treat a variety of neurological symptoms, such as severe epilepsy. This operation can also be carried out on children in order to repair skull birth defects.
Because brain surgeries are considered among the most complicated medical operations, these procedures are extremely specialized and are not offered in many overseas hospitals. At the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, we carry out these neurological procedures on a regular basis and achieve very high success rates.
Preparing for your Craniotomy Operation
In order to be admitted for neurosurgery, you must have a medical summary of your condition, including a full diagnosis and details of any medications that you are taking, so that the surgeon and anesthesiologist can access all relevant medical and personal information. You will also need to have blood tests and numerous scans for the accurate visualization of the brain. This may include CT scans, brain MRI scans, and often further examinations, such as PET (positron) scans and CT angiography of the cerebral blood vessels.
Patients over the age of 40 must have an ECG test.
If you smoke, you should stop smoking as soon as possible prior to the procedure, in order to improve your chances for a successful recovery from surgery, and to improve your overall health. Before your surgery, your physician will explain the stages of the procedure and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have. You will be required to fast for 6-8 hours before the procedure. On the day of your craniotomy, you will be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the surgery
What to Expect During Brain Surgery
Craniotomy can be performed under local or general anesthesia. In both cases, the patient's head will be fixed by means of a special head-holding device, designed to prevent any movement of the head, and therefore allows maximum precision during surgery. A typical craniotomy operation will take 3-4 hours or more. If the decision has been taken to use local anesthesia, the surgeon and anesthesiologist will be able to talk with the patient during the entire surgery.
The surgery will improve your functionality and general feeling, as it usually relieves the symptoms that characterized the problem. However, it is important to remember that a craniotomy is a complicated operation and, as with any surgical procedure, complications may occur. In order to reduce the risks and ensure the best possible outcome, our surgeons use sophisticated navigation systems that allow the accurate exposure of the area to be operated on, while reducing all damage to adjacent tissues. These state-of-the-art navigation systems include advanced imaging technologies, such as ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (computed tomography).
After your Craniotomy Operation
Craniotomy is a major surgery involving hospitalization for between 3-6 days, sometimes followed by several days in a rehabilitation unit, and then a long period of recovery at home. One month after surgery, you will be invited for review by the surgeon in the department.
Full recovery from surgery can take one or even two months. You should avoid strenuous physical activity for 6-8 weeks after surgery, and you should avoid driving until you no longer feel fatigue or dizziness.
Neurosurgery department of the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center employs a team of expert surgeons and clinical staff, many of whom have undergone extensive training in the United States and Europe with the top neurologists in the world. They will answer your questions before, during and after your craniotomy, so that you can be sure that you are receiving the best possible treatment.