Local anesthesia and light sedation (for stereotactic biopsies)—blocks just the area where surgery is taking place; light sedation makes you sleepy during surgery
General anesthesia (for craniotomies or burr holes)—blocks pain and keeps you asleep during surgery; given through an IV (needle) in your hand or arm
Description of the Procedure
Once you are anesthetized and no longer feel any pain, an area of your head will be shaved and washed with an antiseptic.
Stereotactic Brain Biopsy
The skin on your scalp will be numbed. Next, a device that holds your head still will be placed on your head. (Sometimes this is not done). Your doctor will make a small incision and a small hole in your skull. A thin needle will be inserted using a computer. The computer will help guide the needle to the exact spot. Using the needle, your doctor will remove tissue from your brain. A dressing will then be applied.
Your doctor will drill a hole into part of your scull. He will insert a needle into your brain to remove tissue. A CT or MRI scan might be used to help find the biopsy site. Staples or sutures may be used to close the incision. A dressing will then be applied.
Your doctor will make an incision in your scalp. Part of the skull will then be removed. The sheets that cover your brain will be opened. Your doctor will remove a small sample of brain tissue. The skull piece will be returned to its spot. Your doctor will use staples or stitches to close the area. A dressing will be wrapped around your head.
Immediately After Procedure
After the surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room for observation. If you had general anesthesia, your breathing tube will likely be removed. Your mental status, temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and respirations will be checked. Once you are stable, you will be transferred to a hospital room or be allowed to go home.
How Long Will It Take?
One to several hours (depending on the type of biopsy)
How Much Will It Hurt?
You will not feel pain during surgery. After surgery, you will be given pain medicine.
Average Hospital Stay
Depending on the type of biopsy, you may stay in the hospital for 1-2 days or go home the same day. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise.
At the Hospital
Your brain function will be checked frequently. This will include:
You may receive:
Medicine to prevent seizures
Antibiotics to prevent bacterial infection
The dressing will be removed in 24-48 hours. A lighter dressing will be place on your head.
While in the hospital, you may be asked to:
Try not to strain or hold your breath. This can increase pressure on your brain.
Get out of bed and walk. This will help to prevent problems, like blood clots and pneumonia.
When you are at home, do the following for a smooth recovery:
Get help from family and friends as you recover.
Keep your incision clean and dry. Monitor it for redness or drainage.
Get enough rest. Also, eat a healthy diet to help your body recover.
Call Your Doctor
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
Any changes in physical ability—balance, strength, or movement
Any changes in mental status—level of consciousness, memory, thinking, or responsiveness
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, a lot of bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
Headache that does not go away
Changes in vision
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given, or that continue for more than two days after leaving the hospital
Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
Trouble controlling your bladder and/or bowels
Call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately if any of the following occurs:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a