Scared with upcoming craniotomy and many questions

Thank you for having me in the support group as I’m pretty scared. I actually learned at my neurosurgeon visit that I have “twin” aneurysms located in MCA area along with a single in the posterior area of the communication artery. The doctor plans to do craniotomy on 4/27 for all three aneurysms using clips as all of them have potential concerns. To date none are ruptured. Any suggestions for home and mental preparation for this surgery? Anyone read or hear of potential ways to avoid rupture during surgery? If I can arrange for family or friends to stay with me, approximately how long would be ideal amount of time to work out a schedule for post surgery assuming all goes as planned? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile prayers to everyone dealing with their own medical issues and working to get their lives back on track. Marsi


Marsi, I moved this to a new topic as I presume many members do not read the welcomes, hope you don’t mind.

I’ve never had a craniotomy and hope those who have will respond. Some things I’ve learned along the way is to stay hydrated (makes it easier for the RN to get the IV in and my Neurosurgeon has an easier time getting the catheter in for the angiograms with coils, stent, etc., and to try to stay calm. Before procedures, I get my house and House in order so get the heavy cleaning done and organize a bit and I have a conversation with my Higher Power to make sure my surgeon and her team are covered, as well as BH. I also do yard work as it calms me down. I use relaxation breathing as well to help me stay calm. I can focus on all these other things and not fret about another procedure. The one time my Neurosurgeon thought she may end up doing a craniotomy, I had my hair cut short and we even updated our wills. I’m one of those people who like to prepare for the worse and expect the best.

Ask your surgeon about how long you will need to have someone there for you. Mine is usually 24 hours but a couple were 72 I think. It will help if you have meals prepared in advance or someone to fix them for you as exhaustion can be an issue.

I hope those who’ve had a craniotomy can shed more light for you. I wish you all the best and an excellent outcome on your upcoming procedure!


Hey Marsi,

Nobody can really say with any great surety. Some medicos like to give that standard 6-8weeks timeline and for some that timeline can work, but for others it can take longer, MUCH longer. That 6-8weeks maybe long enough for the bone to heal, but it can take longer for our bodies and brains to adjust. Some people can bounce back miraculously, as if nothing has happened. For some there can be lingering side effects, but then for others there can be lifelong issues. I say all of this because I’ve required a few neurosurgeries, including a craniotomy, and none of my recoveries have been the same.

As for family support, that’s really going to be ‘on a needs basis’, some days it will be minimal, but then some days life can all be a little overwhelming and you may find you need a lot more support than you thought. As I’ve often said to others ‘Some days I could leap a tall building in a single bound, but then some days I’m lucky to even crawl out of bed’. I have to be prepared to manage whatever is thrown at me.

Merl from the Modsupport Team


I agree with Meri, it is impossible to predict what you will need or for how long. Since joining and reading this web page (this week!), I have learned more than I have in the past 30 years since my Annie eruption. The one thing of which I was aware, but did not realize the vast width, is that each of us gets through this challenge differently. Some need a few weeks before returning to work or socializing. For me, I needed months of limited interaction with people and I couldn’t return to full-time work for almost 3 years. You have the strongest tools and gifts already scheduled – your family. Hopefully they will understand exactly what Meri mentioned – the unpredictability of each day. Some days of strength and desired interaction, other days of needed solitude. Patience with yourself will be your greatest strength.


Hi! I have a crazy story. But mine ruptured. I need someone with me for 3-6 months. I had a lot to relearn.take care things at your own pace. Check out my blog walkingtalkingmiracle.blogspot


I only had a craniotomy in 2017 to clip my right posterior communicating artery aneurysm so can only speak to that particular surgery location and my experiences. I was healthy but 60 yrs old at the time and my aneurysm had previously ruptured and had a failed coiling 4 yrs before so I already had some damage from that. At the time of my craniotomy, my aneurysm walls were very thin and in danger of another rupture, but I had no issues during the surgery. I completely trusted my neurosurgeon but was still very scared. For me, walking into the hospital the morning of the surgery was the hardest part of it all. I went in on Wed am and home on Sat am. I was not given any pain medicine stronger than ibuprofen and a muscle relaxer in the hospital and at home. I had some pain but not horrible that the meds couldn’t help with. Take the pain meds on schedule so that you don’t let the pain get worse and harder to treat. Be prepared that after the surgery your face will be swollen and bruised, black eye on the side of the surgery. This takes a week or so to resolve. The staples are a little irritating but not painful. You’ll feel much better once they are out. Staples do not hurt but a few pinched a little when being removed. My doctor did not shave my head, just a tiny strip where the incision was. He also allowed me to wash my hair the day after surgery. Tip, get a baby shampoo that doesn’t sting. Get soft pillows and I couldn’t sleep on the surgery side for over a month (by my choice). I was allowed to drive as soon as I felt like it which was about 2 weeks. You must stretch your jaw muscles by opening your mouth wide and moving your jaw back and forth. Do this daily for a few months because for PComm aneurysm they will be cutting into your temporomandibular muscle and if you don’t stretch your jaw, you’ll have trouble opening your mouth wide after healing. I didn’t feel bad after the surgery, just weak, even made a quick stop at Walmart on the way home from the hospital. At home I was able to do my normal chores but just needed extra rest every day. I wasn’t working at a job at the time so can’t speak to that. I had my retired husband at home with me but didn’t have any issues if he had to leave me alone for periods of time. For first 2 weeks I did not shower or do anything very strenuous if he was not at home. I did not have any new neurological issues after the surgery, other than what I already had. As the brain heals there’s some really weird sensations like feeling like your head is dripping and little twinges that are just nerves reconnecting. My dr told me my only limitations were no straining of any kind. My only follow ups were CTA at 3yrs post clipping and then every 10 yrs after that. At my 3 yr everything was great. Coiling and stents require annual or more often follow ups and I hated those. I hope all of this helps you even though I know you are having 3 clipped. If you don’t completely trust your doctor, get a 2nd or even 3rd opinion. My dr was my 2nd opinion. Prayers sent to you for a great outcome and complete recovery!


I cannot echo this point enough.

I was working with people with disabilities, some with very challenging behaviours. With them I could have the patience of a saint, but when it came to self, my patience was nil. I wanted to be right and I wanted it right NOW!!! So, I pushed myself to recover. I pushed too hard, too soon, doing myself more harm than good, ending up back requiring further neurosurgery…My advice…don’t be doing that. Take the time your body needs and not just the time your mind (or the medicos) expects.

My body was giving me signs, but I didn’t listen. I convinced myself that by pushing my limits I was building stamina, the reality was I was driving myself into the ground. All of my normal limits had changed and I hated it. I had to learn to be patient with myself and I hated that too.

It’s been 10yrs since my last surgery (no. 6) and still today I’m on a bit of a seesaw of symptoms.

Merl from the Modsupport Team