Department of Neurology

Craniotomy and seizures

Q: What is the risk of post-craniotomy epilepsy? - I am applying for a pilots license and have had no epileptic episodes since I had surgery for a brain aneurysm over 2 years ago.

A: The craniotomy process (cutting a hole in the skull) itself does not necessarily increase the risk for epilepsy. Rather, an increased risk would result from any injury your brain may have sustained, including from the aneurysm or other causes. If you have never had any seizures, your risk is probably good. If you have had seizures, your risk is higher. While I am not certain about the regulations for a pilot's license, I presume they would require you to be seizure-free off of any seizure medications. I recommend you obtain a copy of the regulations, and review the criteria and your case history with your neurologist or neurosurgeon.

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