EVAN OTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EVAN OTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An illustration of a decompressive craniectomy, a neurosurgical procedure performed on patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries or strokes. The procedure reduces pressure inside the skull by removing a portion of bone and draining any hematoma (blood clot) that places pressure on the brain. The brain is given room to swell and expand, restoring the normal cerebral blood flow, and the bone flap will not be replaced until after the brain has healed returned to its normal size. The patient will undergo a second surgery to close the opening of the skull, known as a cranioplasty, using the original preserved skull fragment or a prosthetic.
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