Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why don't you shave or remove hair to do Brain surgery? A: Hair removal is not necessary. If anything, it increases the risk of infection and it disfigures the patient.
Now the long version. The removal of hair to perform surgery is the greatest misperception that exists in medicine today. Its presence does not increase the risk of infection. In fact, shaving hair increases infection and should NEVER be done. The ONLY reason it is removed is the preference of your surgeon. If that is the case it should be clipped.
Dr. Burke has performed over 6000 operations and records a total of 9 cranial infections (national avg. 1% of total) and a shunt infection rate of 3% (national avg. 8-10%). Patients are allowed to bathe and shampoo the day after surgery. Salon permanents are allowed 12 days post op.
Q: Do you put a plate in my head after
A: No. No plates, wires, bolts, or anything artificial/metal is used to replace the skull defect/bone. It is unnecessary in an adult and in a child such devices will end up in the brain as they grow. A circle of bone is removed with a special instrument and replaced and secured with absorbable suture at the completion of the operation. You do not activate airport detectors.
Q: Is a shunt always needed to treat hydrocephalus? A: No. Endoscopic techniques enable us to bypass or open obstructions that cause hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and avoid the need for a shunt. Even in the patient that has a shunt the ultimate (and realistic) goal is to remove it if possible.
Q: Can I fly after brain surgery or if I have a shunt? A: Yes, pressure changes you feel in your ears during flight do not apply to your brain.
Q: When can I drive after surgery? A: Assuming you have never had a seizure and you are otherwise safe and capable to drive you may do so after the office follow up 10 days after surgery.
Q: Can I have an MRI if I have an aneurysm clip? A: Yes, if Dr. Burke did your surgery. He uses the Sugita clip that is MRI compatible. If you were treated by another Neurosurgeon you will need to contact them.
Q: When is it safe to be intimate after surgery? A: Just as soon as you want to and feel up to it. This is a very good question and one that most patients are reluctant to ask. Once your surgery is complete, the problem that lead to that surgery is resolved. During the phase of recovery let your body be your guide and tell you what you can do. You will not harm yourself with intimate activity, but it may lead to headaches or discomfort. This is due to changes in heart rate and blood pressure much the same as occurs with lifting or mowing the yard. With that said, you may lift and mow as much as you want. You get the point!
Q: What if I have other questions or want you to look at
A: We will be happy to answer any questions or review any studies that
have been performed as long as they are within the scope of our practice
and expertise. Understand this does not constitute acceptance of you as
a patient and we reserve the right not to respond or accept any
obligation to respond. You may forward all correspondence to