Craniotomy complications

I'm working with my doctor's office to schedule a craniotomy to correct may pial AVF. I have made the mistake of reading some of the literature about complications. One thing that really scares me is the chance of infection. The papers I have read indicate that the chance of infection can be as high as 10%! Yikes! That scares the s#&$ out of me. Has anyone suffered craniotomy complications like infections? If so, please tell me that it's no big deal.


Livingthenightmare... 10% chance of something means there is also a 90% chance you won't get it.

Try to not get yourself all anxious about it. I know it's hard to do... I am going to be facing my own brain surgery here to fix my fistula in a few months... but I just try to take one day a time. You will be in the neuoro ICU after your procedure and they will be watching you very carefully during that time.


Dear Worried In Michigan,

They have to have literature about complications just like they have to list all the possible side effects on a drug label. Complications are a worst case scenario.
Do they happen?
Yes, but they're rare. And because they're so concerned about infection, they put patients who have had a craniotomy on some pretty strong antibiotics after the surgery and monitor very very carefully for any problems they see developing. If they see any sign of infection, anything at all, they immediately treat it with more or stronger antibiotics.
Take a deep breath, talk to your doctor about your concerns. We'll be right here if you need to talk more about your worries.

Worried in Michigan,

I've had 3 craniotomy's and never experienced an infection. My opinion throughout the entire process was to have faith in my doctor. Honestly, I didn't read anything and just listened to my neurosurgeon and his team....This really worked for me. Today I am AVM Free!

Stay Strong & Positive!

Don't beat yourself up over the what if's.If I had listened to all the percentages of everything that could go wrong I probably wouldn't have gone ahead with surgery as well. Just remember that the doctor wouldn't have recommended it if the the benefits didn't out weigh the possibilities. Keep a positive thought and don't worry. That is the best medicine that you can take right now.

Sorry, I only had 1 craniotomy....I had 3 angiograms. No infections from any of it.

For me, it seems to have faith in your doctor!

They do have to tell you all about the possible complications so you're somewhat prepared in the event anything happens. I was one of the 10% and did manage to contract bacterial meningitis following my craniotomy. It was caught relatively quickly when I developed a high fever that wasn't responding to medication. I needed to have 21 days of twice a day antibiotics through my IV. Since I had just had a craniotomy following a major bleed, this was the least of my problems. I even had a cool infectious disease doctor who saw me every day. Now, not everyone gets an infectious disease doctor! The antibiotics did their job and after the 21 days they did another spinal tap to make sure the meningitis was gone and it was. So, while I won't tell you it's no big deal, I will tell you that infections are rare and they are treatable. Try not to worry. Deal with one thing at a time. You can do this!

I had a craniotomy in this past january. I didn’t have any infection complications but ended up getting pneumonia. Although that is sometimes common in any surgery, my neurosurgeon said it was something rare for him to see, which is a plus. I am also going on my 4th angiogram in about a week and never experienced any kind of infection in that procedure and just pray all goes smoothly this time :slight_smile: keep your head high and God bless.

Thanks Trish, that's very reassuring. Good to know that these things are treatable. Thanks for the information and best wishes.