Burr hole drainage is a procedure to remove blood clots inside the skull and near the brain. These blood clots are called subdural hematomas because they form under the dura, the covering that protects the brain. If a hematoma forms, it usually needs to be removed. These blood clots can compress brain tissue and cause life-threatening complications. In some cases, a Burr hole drainage may not be aggressive enough and a craniotomy (traditional open surgery) may be needed. However, the majority of hematomas can be successfully removed through the Burr Hole drainage process. In this procedure, a small breach is made in the skull to suction out the blood clot. This relieves undue pressure on the brain.
The Burr Hole Drainage Procedure
This procedure is done under general anesthesia. First, the patient’s hair is shaved off at the treatment site. The surgical team will position the patient’s head in place and apply an antibiotic solution. This is necessary to prevent infection. The surgeon will then make a small cut in the scalp, using a specialized surgical drill to create a tiny opening in the skull. The protective dura mater is carefully cut to expose the hematoma (blood clot). Using a surgical irrigation device, the surgeon will delicately rinse the area. He/she will then drain the affected area with tubing. This ensures that the blood clot and any other excess fluid is completely removed. The surgeon will then finish the procedure by closing up any incisions made.
Risks Of Burr Hole Drainage
A burr hole drainage procedure is less invasive than complete brain surgery and more common. However, the procedure still carries risks. Complications of burr hole drainage may include brain injury, fluid accumulation around the brain, seizure, stroke, weakness, paralysis, bleeding and infection.
Recovery From A Burr Hole Drainage Procedure
After the procedure, patients typically spend several days in the hospital. Physical activities will be restricted for the first few weeks. Patients are recommended not to engage in strenuous exercise and any activities that may cause possible head injury. Many of the symptoms typically experienced with a subdural hematoma, such as headaches, balance problems, numbness, weakness and speech issues, are often resolved immediately after the surgery. Some patients spend time at rehabilitation facilities to restore full functionalities. In certain cases, patients may still experience seizures after the procedure. This can usually be managed by taking prescription medication. Remember to alert your surgeon or doctor if these symptoms persist.