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Discharge Instructions for Craniotomy
You had a craniotomy. This means your neurosurgeon made an opening in your skull to do brain surgery. Recovery after a craniotomy varies, depending on why you had the procedure. The guidelines provided here are for general care. Ask your healthcare provider to provide more information based on your own condition.
Do's and don'ts include:
Increase your activity slowly. Talk with your healthcare provider about which activities you can start with.
Don’t drive until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.
Don’t lift anything until your healthcare provider says it’s OK. Your provider may tell you not to lift more than 10 pounds (4.5 kg) for a period of time.
Take your medicine exactly as directed.
Shower as needed. But keep your incision dry. You can wash your hair with mild soap after your stitches or staples have been removed.
Don’t put creams, lotions, or other ointments to your incision unless your provider tells you to. Keeping the incision clean and dry will help it to heal quickly. Most stitches or staples in the scalp are removed in 7 to 10 days.
Don't drink alcohol or use recreational drugs.
Get plenty of rest and sleep.
Don't take aspirin, ibuprofen, or similar medicines unless your healthcare provider says it's OK.
Make a follow-up appointment.
When to call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider right away or seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following:
Swelling on the face or scalp
Incision that becomes red and hot or drainage from incision
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
Confusion, memory loss, trouble speaking, or hallucinations
Fainting or “blacking out”
Double or blurred vision, or partial or total loss of vision
Numbness, tingling, or weakness in your face, arms, hands, legs, or feet
Stiffness in your neck
Severe sensitivity to light (photophobia) or severe headache
Trouble controlling your bowels or bladder
Nausea or vomiting
Fluid draining from the incision, nose, or ear
Changes in behavior
Online Medical Reviewer:
Jasmin, Luc, MD
Online Medical Reviewer:
Sather, Rita, RN
Date Last Reviewed:
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