Craniotomy is a surgical opening made in the skull for treatment of several types of problems in the brain. Special tools are used to remove a piece of the skull and allow access to the brain for surgical treatment. The most commons reasons for having a craniotomy include blunt or penetrating head trauma, tumors, aneurysyms and arteriovenous malformations (AVM), and brain abcess.
After a craniotomy, medications are often prescribed to treat side effects and help you feel better. If you had surgery for a brain tumor, you may also have chemotherapy or radiation.
If medications are prescribed, be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist about any other medications you are already taking. If you have been treated for a brain abcess, you will likely be on antibiotics as well.
Steroids reduce brain swelling. Take them as directed. Do not stop taking them without your doctor’s okay. Steroids can cause blood pressure changes, weight gain, stomach ulcers, increased risk of infection, increased blood sugar, and mood changes.
Anticonvulsants help prevent seizures. Always take them as directed. You may have blood tests to make sure you get the right dosage. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, balance problems, dizziness, or a seizure.
You may need other medications to manage symptoms and side effects. Talk with your doctor if you have problems with nausea, stomach acid, or pain.
The goal of chemotherapy is to kill cancer cells. These medications travel through your bloodstream, stopping the life cycle of any cancer cells. As a result, the cancer cells die.
The goal of radiation is to slow or stop tumor growth. It uses painless, high-energy radiation to destroy tumor cells. Radiation can be used alone or with other types of treatment.