Craniotomy for Tumor

What is Craniotomy for Tumor?

Surgical excision of your brain tumor may require your neurosurgeon to create a bone flap and temporarily remove a piece of your skull to gain access to the tumor. Many factors will determine if a craniotomy is part of your tumor surgery:

  • The type of tumor. Some tumors such as metastatic brain tumorsacoustic neuromas, and meningiomas more commonly will use a craniotomy.
  • The size of the tumor. Large tumors which cause swelling of the brain and increased cranial pressure may require debulking (removal of the bulk of the mass) which may provide immediate relief of related symptoms.
  • Location of the tumor. Some tumors are more easily reach through traditional surgery, while others might be deeper in the brain or too close to the eloquent parts of the brain. Other neurosurgical techniques such as super-focused radiation beams are used instead, for a bloodless procedure with less risk of infection.

What Conditions Does A Craniotomy Treat?

Neurosurgeons may employ a craniotomy for a variety of reasons to treat various neurological conditions:

Accessing the treatment site
An opening in the skull may be necessary to access and then treat brain aneurysms, tumors, and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs).

Relieving intracranial pressure
Certain conditions such as subdural hematomas and hydrocephalus may require a burr hole, a small dime-sized craniotomy, to relieve excess blood or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the skull. This additional fluid may put pressure on the brain and need to be controlled by opening up the skull and releasing pressure.

Device implantation
ventriculoperitoneal shunt may be installed to provide continual drainage of excess CSF in the case of hydrocephalus. A craniotomy is also part of the process in the implantation of a deep brain stimulation device for conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Essential Tremor, Dystonia, and refractive epilepsy.

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