Persistent headache after supratentorial craniotomy

Amrit Kaur, Linda Selwa, Gail Fromes, Donald A. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Although the incidence, possible causes, and treatment of persistent headache after suboccipital craniotomy have been discussed extensively, few data have been published regarding persistent headache after supratentorial craniotomy. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the senior author's patient series of 145 consecutive anterior temporal lobectomies for intractable epilepsy performed during a 9-year period. To eliminate confounding causes of headache, all patients studied were seizure-free, none had progressive mass lesions or persisting vascular anomalies, and none had major complications of surgery. With the permission of the institutional review board, information on headache was obtained from patient records, the patients' neurologists, and the patients themselves. RESULTS: Of the 145 consecutive patients who underwent operations, 126 patients had adequate follow-up for analysis. Of the 126 patients, 104 did not have headaches and were not using regular analgesics 2 months postoperatively. Twenty-two patients had headaches persisting beyond 2 months. Seven (5.6%) of the 126 patients had headaches that lasted more than 2 months but less than 1 year, and they were free of recurrent headaches 1 year postoperatively. Fifteen (11.9%) of the 126 patients had ongoing headaches 1 year after surgery. Regarding headache severity, 4.0% of patients had medically uncontrolled headaches, and 3.2% continued to require prescription drugs for headaches 1 year postoperatively. CONCLUSION: Although the incidence of persistent head pain after supratentorial craniotomy is lower than that reported for posterior fossa procedures, the incidence is not trivial. The cause of persistent pain deserves further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-636
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications of surgery
  • Craniotomy
  • Dura
  • Headache

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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