Intracranial Pressure Monitoring

What is a intracranial pressure monitoring?

Intracranial Pressure Monitoring is a procedure which is used for the management of patients whose pressure inside their brain is too high. A special probe which monitors pressure is inserted through a small hole in the skull.

To allow the insertion of the probe a small cut is made in the scalp usually on the top right hand side of the head. A small hole is drilled into the skull beneath the cut and the firm covering of the brain is opened.

The probe is placed a few centimetres into the brain. The probe is connected to a electronic measuring device which monitors the brain pressure.

The probe will stay in place for a few days or until the pressure has stabilised.

The cut will be closed with sutures or staples.

My Anaesthetic

This procedure will require a General Anaesthetic.

See About your Anaesthetic information sheet for information about the anaesthetic and the risks involved. If you have any concerns, talk these over with your doctor.

If you have not been given an information sheet, please ask for one.

What are the risks of this specific procedure?

There are some risks/complications with this procedure.

Common risks include:

  • Infection. This may need antibiotics and further treatment.
  • Minor pain, bruising and/or infection from IV cannula site. This may require treatment with antibiotics.

Uncommon risks include:

  • Bleeding. A return to the operating room for further surgery may be required if bleeding occurs. Bleeding is more common if you have been taking blood thinning drugs such as Warfarin, Asprin, Clopidogrel (Plavix or Iscover) or Dipyridamole (Persantin or Asasantin).
  • A heart attack because of the strain on the heart.
  • Stroke or stroke like complications can occur which can cause weakness in the face, arms and legs. This could be temporary or permanent.
  • Fluid leakage from around the brain can occur after the operation. This may require further surgery.
  • Small areas of the lung may collapse, increasing the risk of chest infection. This may need antibiotics and physiotherapy.
  • Increase risk in obese people of wound infection, chest infection, heart and lung complications, and thrombosis.
  • Clots in the leg (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) with pain and swelling. Rarely part of this clot may break off and go into the lungs.

Rare risks include:

  • Epilepsy which may require medication. This condition may be temporary or permanent.
  • Injury to the brain, important nerves or blood vessels. This can lead to stroke like complications which can cause weakness in the face, arms and/or legs.
  • Death is rare due to this procedure.

Intracranial Pressure Monitoring