Craniotomy for Treatment of a Tumor

Surgery is the usual treatment for the removal of most brain tumors. To remove a brain tumor, a neurosurgeon makes an opening in the skull. This operation is called a craniotomy. Whenever possible, the surgeon attempts to remove the entire tumor. However, if the tumor cannot be completely removed without damaging vital brain tissue, the doctor removes as much of the tumor as possible. Partial removal helps to relieve symptoms by reducing pressure on the brain and reduces the amount of tumor to be treated by radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Craniotomy for Treatment of an Aneurysm

A brain aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the wall of an artery in the brain. This bulge can tear or bleed, causing nearby cells to be damaged. A brain aneurysm usually occurs in an artery wall that is weak or defective. Often, surgery is required to reduce the risk of damage or death from the rupture of the aneurysm. After a scalp incision, the surgeon removes part of the skull to provide exposure to the area of the aneurysm. The dura is peeled back and trapped blood and cerebrospinal fluid may be removed. The surgeon then closes off or clips the aneurysm, or the surgeon may seal off the artery leading to the aneurysm. The clip is placed on the part of the aneurysm where it bulges from the artery. Therefore, blood is no longer entering the aneurysm. Because of this, future bleeding is prevented and the nearby brain tissue is protected from further damage. After making sure the clip is secure, the surgeon then performs the closure part of the surgery. The dura and the piece of skull are put back in place. Sometimes a device may be left in the skull to measure pressure in the skull.