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Craniotomy Surgery - Medical Negligence Compensation Claim Solicitors

A craniotomy is any surgical procedure that opens the skull in some way. There are several kinds of craniotomies including a frontotemporal, parietal, suboccipital and temporal craniotomies - so named for the location of the hole in the skull made.

Initially a skull flap is created so that the surgeon has access to the brain. The bone flap is usually replaced after the surgery and connected with screws and small plates. The craniotomy may be very small or very large, depending on what needs to happen beneath the bone.

There are several reasons why a craniotomy is done. They include the following:

  • Treatment of brain tumors.
  • Haematomas/blood clots secondary to trauma.
  • Aneurysms.
  • Arteriovenous malformations.
  • The treatment of blood clots.
  • Removal of foreign bodies.
  • Treatment of swelling on the brain.
  • Management of infections in the brain—abscesses.

The craniotomy is usually performed by a neurosurgeon who is trained in brain surgery and the like. If he leaves the craniotomy hole open after the surgery, the procedure is instead called a craniectomy. In addition, craniotomies are named for the size and possibly the complexity of the hole. For example, there are small craniotomies called "keyhole surgery" or "burr holes". These are often used for the following reasons:

  • To put in a deep brain simulator in cases of Parkinsonism.
  • To drain cerebrospinal fluid from the brain.
  • To get rid of blood clots on the brain.
  • To insert an intracranial pressure monitor.
  • To do a needle biopsy.
  • To remove tiny tumors or to clip aneurysms.

There can be large, complicated craniotomies that are sometimes called skull base surgery. It involves removing a portion of the nerve-laden basal aspect of the skull. It may be necessary to reconstruct the basilar skull in order to have protection of the exiting nerves and blood vessels. The purpose of these types of craniotomies is to:

  • Treat brain injuries after a gunshot wound or traumatic skull fracture
  • To remove large brain tumours or aneurysms
  • To remove tumours of the brain that has invaded the bony aspect of the skull


A craniotomy is a delicate procedure that can result in complications. Some complications and risks of craniotomy surgery include the following:

  • A stroke during or after surgery.
  • Seizures caused by stimulation of the brain.
  • Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid which may necessitate a second surgery for repair.
  • Swelling of the brain from too much handling of brain tissue.
  • Nerve damage which could lead to weakness or numbness.
  • Loss of nerve functioning and mental disarray.
  • Brain damage, which is permanent and can lead to disability.

Post Operative

After surgery, the nurses will make sure you are breathing properly after being on the ventilator unless you must remain on the ventilator. They will check your pupils regularly and ask you to move your arms, legs and spine. They will ask you questions about who you are and where you are to make sure you are oriented to self, place and time. You may stay in the hospital for only 2 to 3 days or longer than two weeks. You will have sutures removed after about seven to ten days.

You will need to call the doctor if you have any of these signs of complications of the craniotomy:

  • Have been found to have a fever greater than 101 degrees F.
  • Have an incision that looks swollen, red, painful or has any drainage.
  • Have balance difficulties, drowsiness or rash when taking an anti-seizure medication.
  • Blurry vision not present at the end of the surgery.
  • Have a decreased level of alertness, arm or leg weakness, increase in drowsiness, vomiting, worsening headaches, severe neck pain, especially if you can't touch your chin to your chest.

Craniotomy Medical Negligence Solicitors

Our brain haemorrhage compensation claim solicitors deal with legal action for craniotomy medical negligence using the no win no fee scheme. If you would like free legal advice with no further obligation just call the helpline, email our offices or use the contact form.

HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 633 634

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here