A decompressive craniectomy is similar to a craniotomy. It is used to access a patient’s brain to perform another neurosurgical procedure if tests reveal the brain is affected by a medical condition.
The only difference between a craniotomy and a decompressive craniectomy is that a neurosurgeon doesn’t put the bone back afterwards.
A brain condition may occur because of:
- a traumatic brain injury
- stroke, blood clot
- blood pooling inside your skull, a condition known as intracranial hematoma
- artery blockage
- excess fluid in the brain, a condition called cerebral edema
What does a decompressive craniectomy involve?
Once a neurosurgeon determines the condition and its location in the brain, they will perform a craniectomy by shaving a patient’s hair at the location that needs attention. Then they will make an incision.
The neurosurgeon will remove skin and tissue to reach the skull, then they’ll carefully drill and saw a part of the skull to access the affected area. Following this, they can perform the necessary procedure.