Craniotomy is the removal of part of the skull, and is the one of the most commonly performed neurosurgical procedures, allowing the neurosurgeon access to operate on the brain. A craniotomy is generally required if the neurosurgeon has to resect a brain tumour, remove a blood clot in/on the brain, inspect the brain, perform a biopsy, or relieve high intracranial pressure.
This procedure is performed while the patient in under general anaesthesia. The patient will not feel nor remember the procedure.
The neurosurgeon makes an incision into the skin as far as the thin membrane covering the skull bone. Because the scalp is well supplied with blood, the surgeon will have to seal many small arteries. The surgeon then folds back a skin flap to expose the bone. Using a high-speed drill (craniotome), the surgeon cuts through the bone until the bone flap can be removed to expose the brain.
After the craniotomy procedure is completed, the piece of skull is replaced and secured with titanium plates and screws. Finally, the neurosurgeon sutures the membrane, muscle, and skin of the scalp.