Smoking – You should not smoke for 3 months after surgery. Smoking negatively affects the blood supply to your bones and significantly slows down healing process. Once you have stopped smoking, we recommend you remain smoke free for the rest of your life.

Home – There are generally no modifications required for your home. The Physician determines any modifications and/or special equipment needs at the time of discharge from the hospital. It is recommended that you make arrangements for someone to stay with you the first week after surgery, in case you need assistance. Not all patients will require assistance in the postoperative period.

Incision – Your scalp may feel spongy for a while because of fluid under it. This will gradually get better. When lying down, keep your head moderately elevated. This helps keep brain and scalp swelling down and prevents increased pressure in the head. Your incision should be kept clean and dry. Clean the incision in the shower and then wipe with alcohol and change the dressing daily. Warm soapy water running over the wound can start the day after the last drain is removed. The staples will be removed approximately 10-14 days after surgery. Call our office to schedule the staple removal (by our clinical staff) or by your primary care physician. You may have numbness for a while in some areas of your scalp.

Pain – It is normal to scalp pain and headache. This should resolve with time as your body heals. A prescription will be given to your when you are discharged from the hospital. The oral medication should control your pain over the first few days. If you have medication questions or needs please use our medication voicemail is available Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. Prescriptions for pain medicine cannot be changed or refilled outside of our regular office hours or through the answering service.

Activity –We want you up and moving around the house. Begin a walking exercise program in the days after your surgery. Start with a 5-10 minute walk. You should walk on a level surface and try to build your walking program up to 30-45 minutes a day by the end of the 1st month after surgery.

Driving – Do not drive under the influence of pain medications or muscle relaxers. Do not drive until cleared by your surgeon. If you are going a significant distance upon discharge, please stop every 45-55 minutes to walk around the car a couple of times to prevent stiffness and soreness, and reduce the risk of blood clots. Continue the practice of taking rest breaks for the first 4-6 weeks.

Return to work – The recuperation period is generally 1 month. If you are not involved in extremely strenuous labor, you may be able to return to work after one week. If your occupation is physically strenuous, it may require that you be off work for more than 1 month. Returning to work is discussed further in your first postoperative visit.

Possible Complications

Drainage – A small amount of drainage from the drain site is normal for several days, but the incision line should be dry after the first 3-4 days.

Infection – Although rare, an infection can occur after surgery. The bacteria usually comes from the patient’s own skin. If you have any drainage or increased tenderness or redness around the incision, please call our office. Treatment requires a course of antibiotics  and possibly additional surgery. Infection will prolong your recovery period.

CSF Leak – A cerebrospinal fluid leak from the lining that surrounds your brain and spine may occur. If a CSF leak through the skin does occur, it can lead to meningitis and will usually require additional surgery. Please come straight to the Emergency Room at Grandview Hospital.

Neurological injury – This complication is rare, but the surgery does involve the critical structures in and around the brain. These risks vary widely and are discussed in as much detail as reasonably possible prior to surgery.

DVT – After surgery blood clots in the legs can occur. These usually present as a painful swollen leg. If you think this could be happening, you will need an ultrasound to diagnosis the problem. You should go to the closest emergency room to have this evaluated as it can be a life-threatening problem. If you do have a DVT it is treated with blood thinners.

Medical Complications – After surgery and anesthesia there is an increased risk for medical problems such as heart attacks, kidney failure, pneumonia, stroke and even death. If you feel you are having an emergency, please go straight to the closest emergency room.


You have worsening nausea, or you vomit.  

You feel increasingly confused.

You have drainage or pus coming from the wound.

You have severe headaches.

You have a seizure.  

You have chest pain, a stiff neck, or difficulty breathing.  

You have a fever above 101F.  

You notice a bad smell coming from the wound or dressing.  

Your wound breaks open after the stitches or staples have been removed.  

You have dizziness or faint while standing.  

You have a new rash on seizure medications.