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Craniotomy for Excision of a Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A craniotomy is surgery to open your skull and operate on your brain. This surgery is used to remove an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). An AVM is an abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in your brain. You may need a craniotomy if your AVM causes your brain to bleed. You may also need a craniotomy if you have symptoms such as seizures, headaches, or speech problems.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
    • Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
    • Weakness in an arm or leg
    • Confusion or difficulty speaking
    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have chest pain or pain when you take a deep breath or cough.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your incision is swollen, red, or leaking pus.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:

You may need tests to make sure that your AVM was completely removed. You may also need stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

For more information:

  • Brain Injury Association
    1608 Spring Hill Road
    Vienna , VA 22182
    Phone: 1- 703 - 761-0750
    Phone: 1- 800 - 444-6443
    Web Address: http://www.biausa.org
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    P.O. Box 5801
    Bethesda , MD 20824
    Phone: 1- 301 - 496-5751
    Phone: 1- 800 - 352-9424
    Web Address: http://www.ninds.nih.gov

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.