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Has Anybody had a Craniotomy
Old 07-07-2011, 09:01 PM   #1
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Has Anybody had a Craniotomy

My 83 year old father is scheduled to have 2 craniotomies done on July 25 to relieve blood from subdural hematomas. We think it happened when he fell in December 2010.

He can still decide not to have the surgery done and take his chances. Or he can decide to take his chances with brain surgery.

I was wondering if any of you have gone through the procedure or know anyone who has and what your experience was-- i.e. recovery, improvement and/or decline in health as a result.

The size of the craniotomies/skin flaps I'm told will be around the size of a quarter each.

Thanks.
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:06 PM   #2
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I can't comment on the effectiveness of the procedure for your father's particular problem, but my late wife had a craniotomy as part of her treatment for cancer. There were no problems associated with the craniotomy itself, and in fact she lived for another 11 years with 'a hole in her head'.

I think the risks involved with the procedure are quite low, even though it sounds rather dramatic to a lay person.

Peter
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:20 PM   #3
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Ask the Docs, but I think the risks from an untreated subdural h. are quite a bit more than from the craniotomy. If it were me I would do it without delay, as long as the work up is complete and definitive.

Putting holes in the skull to relieve pressure is a very old practice and was done in pre-Columbian meso-america.

Ha
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:34 AM   #4
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Lena had one 13 years ago -- a square about 2" x 2". Not to relieve pressure, but to gain access.
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:14 AM   #5
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My FIL was hospitalized with congestive heart failure. While there, they discovered a subdural hematoma from a previous fall he had. The emergency room visit at the time of the fall did not catch the bleed. They wanted to do a craniotomy but my wife, who had medical power of attorney, knew that her father wouldn't want it and that he was unlikely to recover to an acceptable quality of life due to his other medical problems. He passed away due to the heart failure shortly afterwards.

As long as the OP's father is in reasonably good health otherwise, the craniotomy should not pose great risks.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:54 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your replys and insights. Much appreciated. I now have a better sense on how I will approach discussing any worries my father might have about the procedure.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LauAnn View Post
My 83 year old father is scheduled to have 2 craniotomies done on July 25 to relieve blood from subdural hematomas. We think it happened when he fell in December 2010.

He can still decide not to have the surgery done and take his chances. Or he can decide to take his chances with brain surgery.

I was wondering if any of you have gone through the procedure or know anyone who has and what your experience was-- i.e. recovery, improvement and/or decline in health as a result.

The size of the craniotomies/skin flaps I'm told will be around the size of a quarter each.

Thanks.
Usually craniotomies are done to relieve pressure which is causing neurologic symptoms and is done emergently, or at least acutely, not scheduled weeks later. An old, chronic subdural is usually left alone. Is he having symptoms and what do they hope to achieve by doing the procedure?

As others have pointed out it is a relatively safe and benign procedure despite sounding somewhat horrific.

DD
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:06 PM   #8
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Usually craniotomies are done to relieve pressure which is causing neurologic symptoms and is done emergently, or at least acutely, not scheduled weeks later. An old, chronic subdural is usually left alone. Is he having symptoms and what do they hope to achieve by doing the procedure?

As others have pointed out it is a relatively safe and benign procedure despite sounding somewhat horrific.

DD
He fell in December, but the bleeding was not diagosed unti last week. The last several months we've noticed a decline in his ability to walk, i.e. his gate is sometimes more a shuffle than a stride; he started drooling; and his disposition/mood has turned grumpier -- all since December.
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:09 PM   #9
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Usually craniotomies are done to relieve pressure which is causing neurologic symptoms and is done emergently, or at least acutely, not scheduled weeks later. An old, chronic subdural is usually left alone. Is he having symptoms and what do they hope to achieve by doing the procedure?

As others have pointed out it is a relatively safe and benign procedure despite sounding somewhat horrific.

DD
When my mother asked the neurologist what he hoped to achieve by doing the procedure, she said the doctor responded "preventing stroke, heart attack, and death".
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:20 AM   #10
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When my mother asked the neurologist what he hoped to achieve by doing the procedure, she said the doctor responded "preventing stroke, heart attack, and death".
I hope DblDoc will respond to this, this sounds weird and more than a little manipulative and disrespectful to me.

Ha
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:58 PM   #11
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He fell in December, but the bleeding was not diagosed unti last week. The last several months we've noticed a decline in his ability to walk, i.e. his gate is sometimes more a shuffle than a stride; he started drooling; and his disposition/mood has turned grumpier -- all since December.
OK that makes more sense. This is what is known as a delayed subdural hematoma Subdural hematoma - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He will hopefully benefit from decompression.

DD
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:00 PM   #12
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When my mother asked the neurologist what he hoped to achieve by doing the procedure, she said the doctor responded "preventing stroke, heart attack, and death".
That sounds more like a "generic" response than a specific one. From your description one would hope his gait improves along with the drooling and his disposition.

DD
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:43 PM   #13
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Dad ended up having 4 craniectomies on Monday. He was pretty miserable until they removed the drains and catheter on Wednesday p.m. He came home today, Friday, a.m. So far so good.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:14 PM   #14
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That's good news, LauAnn. I hope things continue to go well.

-helen
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