Neurological Conditions & Disorders


Neurological Treatments & Services


Length of Craniotomy Recovery Time

Your length of craniotomy recovery time in the hospital depends on the reason you had a craniotomy.  Also, patients may experience difficulty with walking, talking, balance and strength after surgery.

Many different therapies, including physical, occupational and speech, are often prescribed for patients to help them regain normal function.  If you require rehab before going home, a doctor from the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation department will see you and make specific recommendations regarding your discharge.

Other treatments after a craniotomy may include steroids to help reduce brain swelling, anticonvulsants to prevent seizures or other medications to manage other post-op symptoms.  Your surgeon will decide when you are ready for discharge.

In order to go home, you must be able to walk, eat, urinate and have a healing wound.

Craniotomy Recovery at Home

  • You should continue to gradually increase your activity and walking within and outside the home is encouraged.
  • Avoid lifting and strenuous activity
    • Do not lift objects greater than 10lbs until advised by your doctor
    • Avoid lifting above the waist level and above your head for any prolonged period of time
  • You are not allowed to drive a car.  Your doctor will give you specific instructions about driving on discharge or when you follow-up in the office.  You can ride as a passenger in a car as directed.
  • Climbing stairs at home is permitted and tolerated with caution
  • Sexual activity may resume when indicated by your doctor
  • Remember to call and schedule your follow-up appointment with your doctor once you are at home

Wound Care

You may shower, but try and avoid bathtubs, whirlpools and swimming pools until cleared with your doctor.

If you have steri-strips (strips of tape), cover your incision as directed by your doctor.  You or a companion may remove the tapes as directed.  If your tapes do get wet, you pay pat tapes dry or use hair dryer on cool setting.

If you have staples, you may wash your hair but not scrub over incision.

DO NOT apply lotions or creams near incision site.  No hair dying/perming until cleared by your doctor.

Contact your doctor immediately if:

  • Swelling on around the incision
  • Incision becomes red and hot or has drainage
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Swelling or tenderness in your legs or calves
  • Fever of 100° or higher
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Seizure
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Severe headache

Click the photo below to download an educational flyer about Craniotomy