Recovery

How quickly and how completely you recover from brain surgery depends greatly on the specifics of your individual condition. Variables which affect recovery include the type and extent of your injury or disease, your overall health, and the surgical procedures used. Most patients show some recovery in one to four weeks, but full recovery may take up to eight weeks or longer.

Brain surgery patients are closely monitored in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) until they are completely stable, at which point they are moved to a regular hospital room. Patients are discharged when the remainder of their recovery can be safely handled at home.

Patients recovering from brain surgery often experience a dull headache, which is managed with pain medication. Other symptoms may include a stiff neck, back of the neck pain, and/or shoulder pain. Patients who have had CSF shunting may experience abdominal discomfort at the incision and discomfort along the catheter track.

Dressings will be used to cover incision sites, and the sutures/stapes are usually removed in a week. For the first few days, you will be given intravenous fluids, and your intracranial pressure will be closely monitored.

Patients who have had brain surgery may experience emotional changes, such as feeling tired or discouraged. Friends and family may be helpful with these issues, as well as helping to monitor any changes in your mental abilities and/or speech. It is important to try to maintain a positive attitude, and to report any changes in emotions and/or behavior to your physician.

Before undergoing brain surgery, patients and their families should be aware of the risks of this delicate surgery. Risks include: injury to the brain (tissue and/or vessels); nerve and/or muscle paralysis or weakness; loss of mental capacity in areas of memory, speech or understanding; death.