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Surgical procedure to reduce brain swelling carries risks

When a person suffers a serious head injury, he or she must receive medical care as soon as possible. If an injured patient's brain is swelling, it may be possible to treat the condition with medications. However, if medications fail to do the job, a neurosurgeon may opt to try an intriguing, but potentially dangerous procedure called decompressive craniectomy.

Basically, decompressive craniectomy involves removing part of the patient's skull to relieve the pressure caused by the brain's swelling. And while the procedure has had successes, it is also fraught with risks. In fact, the chairwoman of a university neurosurgery department says that the procedure is likely responsible for creating an increase in the number of significantly disabled patients.

When a patient suffers a head injury that requires treatment, the attending doctor must weigh all the available options. Given the inherent risks of decompressive craniectomy, doctors should be absolutely certain that the procedure gives the patient his or her best chance of recovery or survival. The wrong decision could leave the patient with severe, lifelong impairments of motor and cognitive functions. In a worse-case scenario, the procedure could prove fatal.

If someone you love has suffered a serious or fatal brain injury due to the misguided choices of a surgeon, you may have reason to pursue compensation. An individual with permanent brain damage will typically require special treatment and accommodations. As such you may wish to have a medical malpractice attorney handle your case. An attorney can craft a personalized action plan aimed at helping you pursue appropriate compensation.

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