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Head injury surgery procedures to control pressure in the skull

Posted Jan 18 2012 7:12pm

One of the most common types of brain injury that occurs as a result of a head injury is that of pressure inside the skull. This pressure is usually caused by a build-up of fluid – such as blood – inside the skull, which puts increased pressure on the brain. This can cause permanent brain damage, or even death, if it is not treated quickly with surgery.

The surgical procedure for this type of head injury requires surgeons to drill a hole – referred to as a ‘burr hole’ – in the patient’s skull into which they place one of the following surgical devices: a subdural or epidural monitor, a subarachnoid bolt, an intraparenchymal monitor or a an intraventricular catheter. Each of these devices offers something different for surgeons. The subdural or epidural monitor is the simplest way of monitoring fluid build-up in the skull, making it the best choice when an experienced brain surgeon is not available straight away to operate one of the other, more complex monitoring devices.

The subarachnoid bolt penetrates more deeply into the patient’s skull, going into the dura and arachnoid membranes. The sensor is attached physically to the patient’s skull when the inner and outer parts are fitted together, so that the device can hold its position in the subarachnoid area. The major problem with this is that it does not actually enable the fluid to be drained from the skull.
An intraparenchymal monitor is a device which penetrates into the actual tissue of the brain itself – known as the ‘parenchyma’ and again allows for monitoring of the fluid in the skull, albeit more quickly, reliably and accurately, but again is not designed to actually drain excess fluid. Like the others, this procedure is utilised in situations where draining fluid from the brain is considered to be unnecessary.

An intraventricular catheter is the most commonly used device in procedures for reducing pressure on the brain, because it allows surgeons to drain excess fluid, as well as enabling them to fill the ventricles of the brain with cerebrospinal fluid. It is also more reliable and accurate than other devices and procedures, as it is inserted into one of the ventricles deep in the brain.

If you have been involved in an accident that has resulted in head surgery and would like to speak to the proffesionals to pursue head injury compensation visit

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