Answers are in italics from the surgeon I chose.
1. How many of this type of surgery have you done? Lots of craniotomies done every week. Strictly a brain surgeon now. Mostly tumors but two CSF pts right now.
2. Is there more than one way to treat this? (Endoscopic intranasal?) Not for a leak in this position.
3. Will I be asleep or awake for the surgery? General anesth…asleep.
4. How long will the surgery take? 2-4 hours (Mine took 2 1/2 hours.)
5. What is the most common complication? Failure to repair leak, seizures after surgery
6. What is the total anticipated Length Of Stay in hospital? Up to a week.
7. Will I go to ICU after the surgery? How long? YES, At least one night.
8. What is my total recovery time? When can I return to work? 2 weeks minimum (it took me about 3 to go back to work.)
9. What, if any are the long term issues? Consider this a speed bump. You should get back to doing everything you do now. (I can.)
10. Will I need to take an anticonvulsant? YES Keppra For how long? 4-6 weeks.
11. Will I be able to drive? No driving for one month at least.
12. Will you have to shave much of my hair off? Horseshoe incision over right ear, will leave as much hair on top as possible to cover it
13. What is the chance of any recurrence of the problem? Am I at any higher risk for future problems? Minimal. After 2-4 weeks, home free.
14. Will my ear symptoms improve? They should once the fluid drains out or dries up.
15. Will I have permanent hearing loss? Should not. Most seems to be from the fluid. Less risk of hearing loss with neurosurgeon approach vs. Otologist.
16. Will you operate with an Otologist/ENT? NO If not, how do you fix the ear problems? Should resolve them.
17. Should I stop any of my meds or vitamins/supplements? Stop vits and supplements only for one week prior.
18. When can I return to sports and exercise? Low impact after 4 weeks
19. Will you put a tube in the ear after the surgery? Probably yes, Will have Otologist put tube in 8-10 days before surgery to drain and test for CSF. Leave same tube in after surgery. Tube will improve hearing faster.
20. Will you put a lumbar drain in? YES Intracranial drain/pressure monitor? NO Catheter? YES
21. What is the Benign appearing cyst or polyp in the left alveolar recess? Infection? Ask the Otologist
22. What about the fracture of the floor of the middle crania fossa? Will repair in surgery.
23. Physical Therapy anticipated? Maybe, will set up while in hospital. Chewing may be painful/difficult after the surgery. (I DID NOT REQUIRE PT.)
NOTES: I typed up the questions in advance and had my husband go with me to take notes to that I could listen. These are some things he wrote down:
- Sleeplessness, alcohol and dehydration will give me a higher risk of seizures. A little alcohol ok but no drunkenness. :)
- Tylenol ok for any pain pre-surgery.
- Piedmont has all of the surgical navigational instruments. CT before procedure to mark where they will cut. ASK YOUR SURGEON ABOUT THIS...critical for brain surgery!!!
- He will use split thickness skull graft or titanium mesh to repair skull fracture.
- Will have to lay FLAT in bed for 2-3 days after surgery. Cannot get up.
- Can go home the day after they take out the lumbar drain