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Your Hospital Recovery After Craniotomy

After a craniotomy is completed, the surgeon will talk with your family and friends. You'll wake up in a recovery area. Then you'll be moved to a special unit, often an ICU (intensive care unit), where you can be closely monitored.

Man lying in hospital bed with bandages on head. Two women are standing next to bed. Healthcare provider is talking to man. Family and close friends can visit after patient leaves recovery unit.

Right After Surgery

Upon waking, you may have a headache and body aches. Your nurses can give you medications to ease the pain. Monitors may be used to measure your heart rate or the pressure inside your skull. You may be wearing special leg stockings to help prevent blood clots. And for a short while, you may be placed on a ventilator. This machine helps you breathe.

In Your Hospital Room

You may be moved from the ICU to a hospital room within hours. Or it may take up to two days or longer. Once in your room, you are taught breathing exercises to keep your lungs clear. Your healthcare team will work to have you eating and walking as soon as possible.


If you are having a hard time doing certain physical activities, therapy may be prescribed. Depending on your needs, therapists can work with you to improve balance, strength, speech, and daily living skills. If you are having problems with strength or movement, your therapist may suggest installing handrails in hallways or bathrooms at home.

© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.