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Craniotomy For Tumor Resection


A craniotomy for tumor resection is surgery to remove a tumor from your brain.


The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • You will need blood tests and an EKG before your surgery. You will also need a chest x-ray, CT scan, or an MRI to check the size and location of the tumor. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your surgery:

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
  • You will need to wash your hair with an antiseptic shampoo. Your healthcare provider will tell you what kind of shampoo to use and where to get it.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • You will be sitting or lying on your side or back, depending on where the tumor is. Your head will be placed in a device to hold it steady. Healthcare providers may remove hair from your scalp where the surgery will be done. An incision will be made in your scalp over the tumor area. Holes will be drilled in your skull to remove a piece of bone. The membranes covering your brain will be cut to expose the tumor. Your surgeon will then remove the tumor.
  • Your surgeon may put implants where the tumor was. These release chemicals to kill any tumor cells that may be left. A drain may be placed in your wound to remove extra fluid from the surgery area. Your surgeon may also put in a shunt. A shunt is a drain placed under your skin that empties fluid into your abdomen. The brain membranes will be closed with stitches. The bone piece will put back in your skull and held with metal plates. Your surgeon will close your scalp with stitches, and then put a bandage around your head.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be taken to the intensive care unit.


  • You cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have a sudden severe headache.
  • You have a seizure.
  • You have sudden loss of vision or hearing.
  • You have sudden numbness in your body or cannot move easily.


  • You may have severe pain or headache after the surgery. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. A life-threatening infection of your brain membranes called meningitis may occur. A blood clot may form on your brain and need to be removed. Spinal fluid may leak out of your wound, ears, or nose. You may need more surgery to repair this. You may have seizures. The tumor may come back. You may have damage to your brain and nerves. This can cause paralysis or problems seeing, hearing, or talking. The pressure in your brain may go too high. This can be life-threatening.
  • Without surgery, the tumor may get larger and put pressure on your brain. This can damage your brain and cause problems with moving, talking, hearing, seeing, or thinking. You may go into a coma. These can be life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

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