NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

  • Resize font
  • Print
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest

The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,780 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

craniotomy
(KRAY-nee-AH-toh-mee)
An operation in which a piece of the skull is removed. A craniotomy may be done so doctors can remove a brain tumor or abnormal brain tissue. It may also be done to remove blood or blood clots from the brain, relieve pressure in the brain after an injury or stroke, repair a brain aneurysm (a bulge in a blood vessel wall) or skull fractures, or treat other brain conditions. The piece of skull that is removed is usually put back in place after the brain problem has been treated.

EnlargeDrawing of a craniotomy showing a section of the scalp that has been pulled back to remove a piece of the skull; the dura covering the brain has been opened to expose the brain. The layer of muscle under the scalp is also shown.

Craniotomy: An opening is made in the skull and a piece of the skull is removed to show part of the brain.