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A doctor looking a MRI brain scan

A craniotomy is a type of surgery in which a portion of the skull is removed so that a surgeon can access the brain. This portion of skull, called a bone flap, is reattached at the end of the procedure. There are several different conditions that may require a craniotomy.

Some examples include:

• Hematomas (blood clots)
• Aneurysms
• Skull fractures
• Swelling of the brain
• Infections
• Injuries
• Brain tumors

Do I need a craniotomy if I have brain cancer?

If you have brain cancer, a craniotomy is often recommended as part of your treatment plan. The best treatment for you will depend on many individual factors, including the location and size of the tumor as well as your overall health. Sometimes a smaller surgical procedure or even a precise treatment that does not require surgery may be a better alternative. Because of the complexities involved in developing a brain cancer treatment plan, it is important to seek treatment from a team of cancer experts that has a high level of experience treating brain tumors with a wide variety of types of treatments.

Does Moffitt offer craniotomies as a treatment for brain cancer?

At Moffitt Cancer Center, our Neuro-Oncology Program consists of a multispecialty team that collaborates as a tumor board to provide our patients with comprehensive treatment plans that are tailored to each patient’s unique needs. If a craniotomy is recommended as part of your treatment plan, our neurosurgeons will help you understand what to expect during and after the procedure. Because Moffitt is a high-volume cancer center, our neurosurgeons also possess a unique level of experience that contributes to better outcomes and an improved quality of life for our patients. Our team offers the most advanced treatment options, including awake craniotomies, in which the patient remains conscious during the procedure. An awake craniotomy has less risk of complications and generally results in an easier recovery.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Michael Vogelbaum, Program Leader, Department of Neuro-Oncology and Chief of Neurosurgery.

If you would like to learn more about receiving a craniotomy to treat brain cancer at Moffitt, you can schedule an appointment with or without a referral by calling 1-888-663-3488 or by filling out a new patient registration form online.