Burr holes for chronic subdural haematoma

Surgical treatment for head injuries

A minimally-invasive technique to drain fluid such as blood trapped between the skull and the surface of the brain.

What us a subdural haematoma?

If you sustain a head injury, you may develop a subdural haematoma. This occurs when a blood vessel is damaged and blood collects between the skull and the surface of the brain.

The build-up of the blood pushes against the skull and can, if left untreated, press down on the brain.

Burr hole surgery and craniotomy are the procedures most commonly used to treat the condition.

Need to know

  • What happens during surgery? icon plus

    Burr holes are more commonly used to treat clients who experience a subdural haematoma days or weeks after sustaining a head injury.

    One or more small holes will be drilled into the skull during the procedure, and a tiny, flexible tube will be inserted to drain the haematoma, removing the pressure between skull and brain.

    Sometimes the tube will be left in place for a few days to continue to drain any blood or fluid build-up and reduce the chances of the haematoma returning.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will make sure that you are well supported before undergoing burr hole surgery.

    The procedure may take place under either local anaesthetic, where you will be awake but will not feel any pain, or under general anaesthetic, when you will be asleep throughout the procedure.

    As with all surgery, there are some risks involved with this procedure and your consultant will discuss the risks with you before the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
  • After surgery icon plus

    After the surgery, you will be looked after by your specialist HCA UK team. You may be well enough to return home after a few days, but recovery rates differ from one person to the next.

    You may need additional treatments before resuming normal activities.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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