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Craniotomy for Tumor Resection


Your recovery time may depend on how much of the tumor is removed, and where it is removed from in your brain. It may take several weeks for you to recover.


Have someone else call 911 for any of the following:

  • 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 have trouble breathing.
  • You have a seizure.
  • Your seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • You have more than 1 seizure before you are fully awake or aware.
  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a second seizure that happens within 24 hours of your first.
  • You are injured during a seizure.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your stitches come apart.
  • You have a severe headache and a stiff neck.
  • You are confused.
  • You have changes in your vision.
  • You fall and hit your head.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • Your incision is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or you have a rash.
  • You feel anxious or depressed.
  • You continue to have a headache after you take your medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics help prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Seizure medicine helps control or prevent seizures.
  • Steroids may be given to prevent swelling in your brain.
  • 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.

Care for your incision as directed:

Ask your surgeon when your incision can get wet. Carefully wash around the incision with soap and water. Ask your healthcare provider if you need to use a certain type of soap or shampoo. Do not scrub your incision. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. Do not put hair spray, gel, or lotion on your scalp unless your healthcare provider says it is okay. Do not swim or take a bath until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Your healthcare provider may tell you to wear a soft hat to protect the area.


  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can delay healing. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol can prevent healing. It can also make your headache, dizziness, or balance worse.
  • Keep your head elevated when you sleep. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your head on 2 to 3 pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably or sleep in a recliner.
  • Place a cold compress on your eyes as directed. This will help decrease swelling and bruising. Use a washcloth or towel soaked in cool water. Leave it on your skin for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat this up to 4 times each day.


Rest as directed. Take short naps throughout the day if you get tired. Do not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds. Do not drive until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Ask your healthcare provider what activities are safe for you to do. Increase your activity gradually as directed. It may take several weeks for you to get stronger and be able to do your usual activities.

For more information and support:

It may be difficult for you and your family to go through treatment for a brain tumor. It may be helpful to speak with others that have gone through treatment. For more information and support:

  • American Brain Tumor Association
    Phone: 1- 800 - 886
    Web Address:

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for tests. You may need to have radiation or chemotherapy after you heal from surgery. Radiation and chemotherapy help kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.