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Patient Expectations Following Craniotomy Surgery

Following a craniotomy for aneurysm surgery, patients can generally expect the following timeline for recovery milestones. Individual recovery timelines and experiences can vary and are advised to discuss personalized guidance on their recovery and follow-up care.

Immediately post-surgery

  • Patients are closely monitored in the intensive care unit (ICU) for at least 24 hours.
  • Pain or discomfort at the incision site, managed with pain medications.
  • Swelling and bruising around the incision site and face.
  • Temporary changes in mental function, such as confusion or memory issues.
  • Fatigue or weakness.

Postoperative Day 2

  • Dressings are typically removed, and patients are advised to keep the incision site clean and dry.

Postoperative Day 3

  • Patients can usually shower, but should avoid submerging the incision in water (e.g., in a bath or swimming pool) until the wound is fully healed and sutures or staples have been removed.

Postoperative Days 2-4

  • Discharge from the hospital typically occurs within 2-4 days after the surgery, depending on the patient’s condition and recovery progress.

1 Week Post-Surgery

  • A reduction in pain and swelling around the incision site, with some discomfort still present.
  • Gradual improvement in mental function, although some cognitive issues may persist.
  • Continued fatigue or weakness, but with some improvement in overall energy levels.
  • Possible follow-up appointments with the neurosurgeon to assess recovery progress.

2 Weeks Post-Surgery

  • Sutures or staples are usually removed at around 14 days after the surgery, depending on the patient’s healing progress and the surgeon’s preference.

1 Month Post-Surgery

  • Significant reduction or resolution of pain and swelling at the incision site.
  • Continued improvement in cognitive function, with most patients returning to their baseline mental state.
  • Increased strength and energy levels, allowing for a gradual return to daily activities and work.
  • Follow-up appointments with the neurosurgeon and possible imaging studies to ensure the aneurysm has been successfully treated.

1 Year Post-Surgery

  • Complete healing of the surgical site, with only a scar remaining.
  • Return to normal cognitive function and daily activities, including work and hobbies.
  • Possible follow-up imaging studies to ensure the long-term success of the aneurysm treatment.
  • In some cases, patients may continue to experience minor changes in cognitive function, headaches, or fatigue, but these symptoms are usually manageable and improve over time.