Craniotomy for glioma

Surgery to remove a brain tumour

Our neurosurgeons can carry out a crainotomy to remove gliomas, a type of brain tumour


Gliomas are brain tumours that develop from the ‘supporting’ cells in the brain called glial cells. If you've been diagnosed with a glioma, our neurosurgeons may be able to carry out a surgical procedure, called a craniotomy, to remove it. Unlike benign tumours, gliomas are not well circumscribed and may diffusely infiltrate the brain around the obvious mass seen on scan. We recognize different ‘grades’ of glioma from I-IV. Grade I tumours are truly benign and are normally treated by surgical removal but sometimes radiotherapy is advised. Grade II are considered ‘low grade’, they are not truly benign and usually cannot be completely removed. These are slowly growing but have the potential to transform into more malignant rapidly growing tumours – Grade III and Grade IV. There are also different cell types in gliomas, and the two commonest are astrocytomas (developing from astrocytes) and oligodendrogliomas (arising from oligodendrocytes). Your consultant will discuss the implications of your diagnosis once the pathology results are available.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Your neurosurgeon will start by creating a window in your skull to access your brain. Depending on the location of your glioma (tumour), they'll then aim to remove as much of it as they can. If the glioma is too close to healthy tissue, they may not be able to remove all of it. At the end of the procedure, your neurosurgeon will put the bone back in place and secure it. Tissue from the glioma will be sent away to be examined by a pathologist and your consultant will then guide you through your treatment options. A craniotomy for glioma is usually the start of a wider treatment plan, which may involve radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Before your craniotomy for glioma, you'll most likely be asked to attend a pre-operation appointment. Your neurosurgeon will explain what happens during a craniotomy and how to prepare for it.


    You'll most likely be asked to limit your food and drink intake in the hours leading up to the procedure, as you'll be receiving a general anaesthetic

  • Afterwards icon plus

    After your craniotomy, you'll be taken to our recovery ward. Depending on the normal practice of your surgeon, your head may be bandaged. If so, this will normally be removed after two to three days. During your stay in our recovery ward, you may have a drip placed into your arm to keep you hydrated, and you may also have a catheter inserted into your bladder. These will be removed as soon as you are eating, drinking and mobile. Your consultant or nurse specialist will let you know when you can leave the hospital. They'll also arrange a follow-up appointment to discuss the results of the glioma biopsies.

Our consultants

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

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020 7079 4344
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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