Burr Holes for Haematoma

A subdural hematoma is bleeding and collection of blood under the dura (outermost protective covering of the brain) as a result of severe injury to the head. The hematoma compresses the surrounding brain tissue causing many neurological symptoms and can even be life-threatening. The condition may sometimes resolve on its own but in severe cases a surgery called burr hole drainage is performed to remove the blood or clot and relieve the pressure on the brain, preventing brain damage.

Burr hole drainage can be performed under local anaesthesia. It involves shaving a portion of your scalp and making a tiny incision over the site of the hematoma and drilling one or more holes in your skull to expose the dura. This is then opened with a scalpel to drain out the accumulated blood. The area may be irrigated with fluids to help remove the blood. The incision is then closed and you are carefully monitored. Your surgeon may sometimes need to place a drain through the drilled hole following surgery to allow further blood to drain.

As with any procedure, burr hole drainage may be associated with certain risks and complications such as bleeding, infection, brain injury and the need for further surgery.

  • Westmead Private Hospital
  • Neuro Surgical Society
  • the University of Sydney