Infection After Brain Surgery

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Brain surgery is a very delicate procedure that is sometimes necessary to remove tumors or lesions, as well as to correct brain abnormalities. There is a slight risk of developing an infection with any type of surgery performed on any part of the body, but infections after brain surgery are extremely serious. Infections after brain surgery can lead to a number of physical and mental problems, some of which may be permanent.

Types

  • Infections after brain surgery are generally caused by the staphylococcus aureus bacteria and called staph infections. This bacterial infection is resistant to many types of drugs, and can be deadly. Bacterial meningitis, another infection that occurs following brain surgery, can cause brain damage, learning disabilities, hearing loss or even death without treatment for the specific type of bacteria.

Diagnosis

  • Bacterial meningitis is a very serious condition. About one third of patients who develop it will die from it. It is a much more severe form of meningitis than the viral type. Babies who survive bacterial meningitis suffer from brain damage, developmental difficulties or hearing problems. It is diagnosed via blood work, spinal taps and a detailed medical history.

Signs

  • Some of the signs of infection include vision problems or blindness, hearing loss, speech problems, seizures, breathing difficulties including respiratory arrest, difficulty with movement and weakness on one side of the body. Fever, redness around the incision area or loss of balance are also signs of an infection. A person who recently had brain surgery should be evaluated immediately by a physician to determine if an infection is present.

Treatment

  • Infection after brain surgery is so severe that antibiotics should be started as soon as it is suspected that the patient has an infection. This should be done even before lab test results are received. Medications used for the treatment of bacterial meningitis include antibiotics in combination with cephalosporins, ampicillin or a number of other bacteria-fighting drugs. Corticosteroids are given to reduce inflammation, and antiseizure medications are administered. Family members are given medications to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.

Alternative Treatments

  • Most brain infections can only be distinguished through lab tests, and it is imperative to use conventional methods of treatment. Any alternative methods should be used in conjunction with conventional therapies, not in place of them, and only on the advice of qualified health professionals. Some homeopathic therapies may relieve symptoms, and certain supplements may help to make the immune system stronger.

References

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