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Other Treatments After Craniotomy

Craniotomy is a surgical opening made in the skull for treatment of several types of problems in the brain. Special tools are used to remove a piece of the skull and allow access to the brain for surgery. The most common reasons for having a craniotomy include blood clots (hematomas), tumors, aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, and brain abscess.

After a craniotomy, medicines are often prescribed to treat side effects and help you feel better. If you had surgery for a brain tumor, you may also have chemotherapy or radiation.


If medicines are prescribed, be sure to tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any other medicines you're already taking. If you've been treated for a brain abscess, you'll likely be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection. Below are some other medicines your provider might prescribe.

Man taking pill.
Take medications exactly as directed by your healthcare provider.


Steroids reduce brain swelling. Take them as directed. Don't stop taking them without your provider’s OK. Steroids can cause:

  • Blood pressure to increase

  • Weight gain

  • Stomach ulcers

  • Increased risk of infection

  • Increased blood sugar

  • Mood changes


These medicines help prevent seizures. Always take them as directed. You may have blood tests to make sure you get the right amount (dosage). Call your provider right away if you're taking this type of medicine and have:

  • A rash

  • Balance problems

  • Dizziness

  • A seizure

Other medicines

You may need other medicines to manage symptoms and side effects. Talk with your provider if you have problems with nausea, stomach acid, or pain.


The goal of chemotherapy is to kill cancer cells. These medicines travel through your bloodstream, stopping the life cycle of any cancer cells. As a result, the cancer cells die.

Radiation therapy

The goal of radiation is to slow or stop tumor growth. It uses painless, high-energy radiation to destroy tumor cells. Radiation can be used alone or with other types of treatment.

Online Medical Reviewer: Anne Fetterman RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph Campellone MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2021
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.