Post Op Cranioplasty

Cranioplasty Post-Op Recovery Instructions

  1. After cranioplasty, you will have a wraparound head dressing to help control swelling. Another layer of dressing will go underneath your jaw to help the head wrap stay in place. It can be removed the next day. If your surgery is done as an outpatient procedure, you may remove it the next day yourself. If you stay overnight, Dr. Eppley will remove it for you before you go home.
  2. There will be some considerable swelling of the scalp during the first few days after surgery. You may use ice if it makes it feel better but it is not necessary to do so. Do not worry about dislodging or moving the skull bone or the cranioplasty material. It is not possible for you to do so.
  3. The incisions for cranioplasty will be in the scalp. No hair will be shaved or clipped for the surgery. The sutures in the scalp are dissolvable, so there is no need for suture removal. It is also not necessary to apply antibiotic ointment on your wound. This will do nothing to prevent infection and will only make your hair greasy.
  4. To keep the swelling to a minimum, it is helpful to sleep with your head elevated on a few pillows or in a recliner for the first few days.
  5. You may shower the next day after your surgery. You may wash your hair the second day after surgery. You may wash it and style it as you would do normally.
  6. Your activity level should be what feels good. Do routine activities as tolerated. Strenuous exercise may be resumed one week after surgery. Avoid contact sports for a month after surgery. Getting hit in the head will not feel good and may cause some bleeding and swelling.
  7. The skin around the incision and cranioplasty area will feel numb after surgery. This is why cranioplasty is usually not a particularly painful procedure. The feeling in the scalp will completely return to normal, in most patients, within a month or two after surgery.
  8. You may begin driving within a few days after surgery if you are off pain medications and can think and react clearly.
  9. If you develop significant swelling or experience increased tenderness of your scalp or any area near or around the cranioplasty site, please call Dr. Eppley and have your pharmacy number ready.