Multidimensional 4


Describe postoperative complications of a craniotomy

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain is a craniotomy. The temporary section of the bone removed is known as the bone flap, and it is replaced after the brain surgery has been done. This procedure eliminates the brain tumor, improves symptoms related to the lesion, and decreases the tumor size (Craniotomy, n.d.). However, it is important to monitor the client's dressing for excessive drainage after the craniotomy procedure. 


At an early stage, the client may experience complications such as increased intracranial pressure with symptoms of headache, deteriorating LOC, restlessness, and irritability. The client may experience hydrocephalus, resulting in headaches, decreased LOC, irritability, blurred vision, and urinary incontinence. Also, subdural and epidural hematoma and intracranial hemorrhage can manifest as severe headaches, rapid LOC decrease, progressive neurologic deficits, and herniation syndromes. Respiratory complications such as atelectasis, pneumonia, and neurogenic pulmonary edema may be presented. The client can experience complications at a late stage such as wound infection, seizure, cerebrospinal fluid leak, cerebral edema, meningitis, fluid and electrolyte imbalance (dehydration and hypo or hypernatremia), and syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH) (Ignatavicius, Workman, et al., 2021).



Craniotomy. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Ignatavicius, D.D., & Workman, M.L., Rebar, C. & Heimgartner, N. M. (2021). Medical-surgical nursing: Concepts for interprofessional care (10th ed.). Elsevier.