Like any other invasive procedure, brain surgery is closely associated with many side effects. However, the likelihood of side effects increases significantly when it comes to the surgery of the brain as it is the master of all body controls. The intensity and duration of the side effects varies in accordance with the reason for the operation and the area of brain on which the operation was carried out. In some uncommon cases, people have to re-learn some or all basic skills such as reading and writing.
The malignant and benign tumors of the brain can cause substantial tissue damage. Thorough removal of all affected tissue is important to prevent the tumor from spreading further or from reccurring. Although this does save the patient’s life, removing tissue leads to complications.
Infections– Infection constitutes an unwanted effect related to brain surgery. If bacteria gain access to the brain during the procedure, chances of brain infection are high. For example, infection due to Staphylococcus Aureus can lead to meningeal inflammation. As a small hole is made in the skull, the patient stands a fair chance of acquiring a skull infection. A proper antibiotic regime is started immediately to prevent such after effects.
Bleeding– There is a possibility of post-operative intracranial bleeding in cases in which surgical eradication of a malignant or benign tumor has been carried out. This bleeding is known as a hemorrhage and it causes an increase in pressure. This spike in pressure either within or on the brain as well as the surrounding structures has the potential to reach alarmingly high levels, leading to either unconsciousness or death.
Some symptoms that suggest intracerebral bleeding include: nausea, sudden headache, vomiting and loss of sensation leading to numbness. Weakness is another important symptom. One must call for a doctor’s help immediately on noticing these symptoms.
Seizure– Seizures are caused by unusual electrical activity within the brain. Post neurosurgery, seizures are quite common and may occur either immediately, after a few months or even many years after the day of operation. If the seizure does occur soon after the completion of surgery, it is regarded as a “provoked” seizure. Some seizures are classified as ‘unprovoked’ if they continue to occur for a long time after the surgery. Patients belonging to the latter category are diagnosed as epileptic.
Seizures occur because after the removal of damaged or infected tissue, the brain makes new but different connections with the nerves. Such abnormal connections lead to unprovoked seizures which range in frequency. The good news is that many such seizures are treatable via effective anti-convulsant drugs.
Stroke– A stroke is defined as an emergency medical situation in which the blood flow in the brain experiences a sudden interruption. Blocked vessels may be a cause of stroke, especially after brain tumor removal surgery.