Craniotomy cost in Switzerland

Craniotomy is a preliminary surgical procedure necessarily performed to access the brain and proceed with further operations. It involves the cutting and opening of a portion of the skull in order to have access the brain. It is performed either in case of severe neurological or cerebral anomaly, or in case of traumatic as well as accidental injuries. Craniotomy is also performed to remove lodged foreign objects like iron rods, bullets, nails, etc. 

What is craniotomy?

The surgical removal of a bone flap or a portion of the skull to perform necessary operation on the brain is known as craniotomy. Post-operation, the bone flap is however fixed in position with the help of metal screws. Craniotomy involves carving out minute incisions or burrholes as well as significant incision known as keyholes to carry out necessary functions. The entire procedure is guided by endoscopes, stereostatic framing, as well as computer based imaging that helps the surgeons to:

  • Remove blood clots in case of hemorrhage
  • Draining of excessive Cerebrospinal Fluid
  • Treat brain tumors
  • Relax stressed arteries, veins or nerves
  • Cure an injury
  • Insertion of devices like Intracranial Pressure Monitoring system, Deep Brain Stimutaling devices

Ideal Candidates for Craniotomy surgery 

Evaluation for ideal candidacy for craniotomy surgery is primarily important. The surgeons shall decide an ideal candidate if the individual:

  • Suffers from an advanced stage brain tumor
  • Requires urgent biopsy of an affected brain tissue
  • Suffers from additional intracranial pressure buildup
  • Needs insertion of an artificial device to control brain functioning
  • Has a foreign object lodged in the brain
  • Suffers from hemorrhage 

Factors affecting the cost of craniotomy surgery in India

Craniotomy is mostly performed to treat or remove brain tumors (malignant or benign). An average brain tumor surgery cost may range from $20,000 to $28,000. Apart from tumors, the surgery is performed for a number of other reasons, depending on which, craniotomy cost may range from $8000 to $20000. It may hinge on:

  • Reason for craniotomy surgery
  • Type of craniotomy required 
  • Extent of bone flap removal
  • Extent of post-surgical follow up required
  • Healthcare benefits required
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About the Craniotomy

Craniotomy surgery is one of the most common types of brain surgery conducted to treat a brain tumor. It mainly aims at removing a lesion, tumor, or a blood clot in the brain by opening a flap above the brain to access the targeted area. This flap is removed on a temporary basis and again put in place when the surgery is done. Around 90 percent of the cases of brain tumors are diagnosed in adults aged between 55 and 65. Among children, a brain tumor is diagnosed within an age range of 3 to 12 years.

Craniotomy procedures are conducted with the help of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to reach the location precisely in the brain that requires treatment. A three-dimensional image for the same is achieved of the brain in conjunction with localizing frames and computers to view a tumor properly. A clear distinction is made between abnormal or tumor tissue and normal healthy tissue and to access the exact location of the abnormal tissue.

Who requires a craniotomy?

In a minimally invasive craniotomy procedure, a burr hole or a keyhole may be created to access the brain to fulfill the following purposes:

  • To drain out cerebrospinal fluid in case of hydrocephalus by inserting a shunt into the ventricles
  • To treat Parkinson’s disease by inserting a deep brain stimulator (DBS)
  • To insert an intracranial pressure monitor
  • To conduct needle biopsy, where a small sample of abnormal tissue is removed for study
  • For stereotactic hematoma aspiration, in which a blood clot is drained out
  • For insertion of an endoscope to clip aneurysms and for the removal of small tumors

When there are complex craniotomies involved, the procedure may be referred to as a skull base surgery.  In this kind of surgery, a small portion of the skull is removed from the bottom of the brain. This is the region where delicate arteries, veins, and cranial nerves exit the skull. Complicated planning is done to plan such craniotomies and understand the location of the lesions. This type of approach is usually employed for:

  • The removal or treatment of large brain tumors and aneurysm in the brain
  • Treatment after a skull fracture or major injury like a gunshot
  • The removal of a malignant tumor affecting the bony skull

Primary brain tumors are much less common than secondary brain tumors. Primary ones are found to originate very close to the brain itself or in the tissues very close to it, such as the covering membranes of the brain, including the meninges, cranial nerves, pineal, or pituitary gland. It begins with normal cells, which at a later period undergoes some mutational errors in their DNA. The mutation triggers cells to grow and divide at a very high rate while healthy cells keep dying around it. This results in a mass of abnormal cells which gives rise to a tumor. Unlike primary tumors, the secondary tumors begin as cancer elsewhere and spread to the brain.

Symptoms of brain tumor

  • Different patterns of a headache
  • Headaches get more frequent and acutely painful
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision, double vision, or loss of peripheral vision
  • Loss of sensation in the arm or any leg gradually
  • Balance difficulty
  • Speech problems with confusion in simple matters
  • Hearing problems
  • Personality change
  • Sudden seizures and attacks or bouts of pain

Types of Craniotomy

No matter what the goal of the surgery is, it is best to ensure that the incision is made to address the intracranial lesion keeping some principles in mind. A wide variety of intracranial processes can be done via a craniotomy with a different variety of incisions. Some of these variations include frontal craniotomy, pterional craniotomy, temporal craniotomy, decompression craniectomy, and suboccipital craniotomy.

How is Craniotomy performed?

  • An intravenous line is first placed in the arm and general anaesthesia is employed while the patient lies on the operating table.
  • When the patient is no more awake, the head is placed in a 3-pin skull fixing the device. This is attached to a table and keeps the head in a fixed position all throughout the procedure.
  • An insertion of a lumbar drain is made in the lower back to drain out the cerebrospinal fluid. A relaxation drug for the brain named mannitol can be administered at this stage.
  • With an antiseptic, the skull is prepared and an incision is made usually behind the hairline. A good cosmetic result is achieved after the surgery and a hair sparing technique, which requires shaving only one-fourth inch-wide area along the incision proposed is aimed. At times, the total area of the incision may be shaved.
  • The skin and muscles are then removed from the bone and folded back, burr holes are made in the skull using a drill.
  • A saw is introduced through the holes made and cuts the bone flap’s outline. The protective covering of the brain named dura is exposed after the craniotome (the saw) removes the bone flap. This bone flap is kept aside securely to be attached back again after the surgery.
  • Once the dura is opened with surgical scissors, the surgeon folds it back to access the brain. There are retractors placed on the brain to have a corridor opened gently in the brain to address the region requiring removal or repair. 
  • Loupes are used by neurosurgeons, which are special magnifying glasses or an operating microscope to get a view of the delicate nerves and vessels.
  • The brain is very tightly enclosed within the skull and hence, removal of tissues cannot be done easily to repair problems.
  • Therefore, a variety of tools and instruments are employed to work in the deep circuits of the brain like drills, lasers, ultrasonic aspirators (used to break tumours and have the pieces suctioned), dissectors, long handled scissors, and of course computer-aided guidance.
  • Evoked potential monitoring may also be employed to stimulate the specific cranial nerves and the responses generated are monitored. This step ensures that the nerves are functioning properly and not getting damaged as a result of the surgery.
  • After the problem is rectified, the retractors are released and dura is closed along with sutures and the bone flap is placed in its original position and secured with titanium screws and plates. These screws and plates remain permanently in place to support the region and can be felt under the skin.
  • A drain can also be kept as is for some time. It helps collect blood and fluids from the area that is subjected to the surgery. T
  • he skin and muscles are sutured together and a soft turban-like adhesive is placed as dressing over the incision.

Recovery from Craniotomy

  • The patient is shifted to a recovery room where vital signs are monitored after he or she is in complete senses and the effect of the anaesthesia completely wears off.
  • Drowsiness, nausea, and headache are common in craniotomy recovery surgery. Hands, fingers, and toes must be moved frequently to avoid the formation of blood clots.
  • Anticonvulsant medications may be provided and a nurse may keep asking simple questions to figure out alertness.
  • Hospital stay varies from two to three days or even two weeks, depending on the complications that may result.
  • After discharge, keep away from strenuous activities. Some exercises may be prescribed for the slow movement of head and neck.
  • You should notify your doctor about any increase in temperature or infection observed at the sites of the incision. Bathing instructions should be strictly followed.
  • It almost takes around two to eight weeks for complete recovery. Keep visiting your doctor for follow-up checkup or as instructed. Contact your doctor immediately in case of loss of mental function, stroke, seizure, or nerve damage.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors affecting the cost of Craniotomy in Switzerland?

Different hospitals have different pricing policy when it comes to the cost of Craniotomy in Switzerland. The cost quoted by some of the best hospitals for Craniotomy in Switzerland generally covers the pre-surgery investigations of the patient. The Craniotomy procedure in Switzerland includes the fees of the surgeon, hospitalization and anesthesia as well. There are many things that may increase the cost of Craniotomy in Switzerland, including prolonged hospital stay and complications after the procedure.

Which are some of the best clinics in Switzerland for Craniotomyt?

There are many hospitals that perform Craniotomy in Switzerland. For quick reference, the following are some of the leading hospitals for Craniotomy in Switzerland:

  1. Paracelsus Clinic
  2. Universitatsspital Basel
How many days does it take to recover post Craniotomy in Switzerland?

After discharge from the hospital, the patient has to stay for another 28 days in the country for complete recovery. This duration of stay is recommended to complete all the necessary follow-ups and control tests to ensure that the surgery was successful.

Which are some of the other popular destinations for Craniotomy?

Switzerland is considered to be one of the best places for Craniotomy in the world. This is because of the availability of some of the best doctors, advanced medical technology and good hospital infrastructure. Some of the other destinations that are popular for Craniotomy include the following:

CountryCost
IndiaUSD 4600
IsraelUSD 32000
MalaysiaUSD 20000
SpainUSD 31000
ThailandUSD 30000
TunisiaUSD 13000
TurkeyUSD 9000
How much are the other expenses in Switzerland apart from the cost of Craniotomy?

Apart from the Craniotomy cost, there are a few other daily charges that the patient may have to pay. These are the charges for daily meals and accommodation outside the hospital. The per day extra expenses in Switzerland per person are about USD 50 per person.

Which are the best cities in Switzerland for Craniotomy Procedure?

Some of the best cities in Switzerland which offer Craniotomy are:

  1. Lustmuhle
  2. Geneva
  3. Basel
How many days does one have to spend in the hospital for Craniotomy in Switzerland?

After the Craniotomy takes place, the average duration of stay at the hospital is about 5 days. The doctors team review the patient's recovery during this time with the help of blood tests and imaging scans. Once they feel that everything is on track, the patient is discharged.

How many hospitals offer Craniotomy in Switzerland?

There are more than 2 hospitals that offer Craniotomy in Switzerland. The above listed hospitals are approved to perform the surgery and have proper infrastructure to handle Craniotomy patients. Additionally, these hospitals are known to comply with the international standards as well as local legal requirements for the treatment of patients.

Who are the best doctors for Craniotomy in Switzerland?

Some of the best medical specialists for Craniotomy in Switzerland are:

  1. Dr. Leo Bonati
  2. Dr. Regina Schlage
  3. Dr. Alexandre Datta
  4. Dr. Kuhle
  5. Dr. Raoul Christian
  6. Dr. Stefan Engelter

FAQ's Related to Switzerland

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in Switzerland?

Switzerland has some world-class multispecialty hospitals, including:

  1. Paracelsus Clinic, Lustmuhle;
  2. Geneva Women Care, Geneva;
  3. Universitatsspital Basel, Basel;
  4. Klinik Hirslanden Zürich, Zurich;
  5. Lindenhofspital Bern, Bern;
  6. Hirslanden Klinik Aarau, Aarau

The country has more than 500 hospitals and boasts of some of the biggest private hospitals in the world. Around 12 hospitals are accredited and they adhere to international standards. The hospitals are efficient enough to provide world-class out-patient services. Also, the increasing number of hospitals has developed to centers of competence for excellent outpatient diagnostic and therapy. Backed by state-of-art infrastructure and advanced medical technology, the world-class multispecialty hospitals in Switzerland are able to provide unmatched treatment with high precision and accuracy.

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in Switzerland?

Healthcare facilities in Switzerland have to sign contracts on quality care in order to meet international standards. Healthcare accreditation is based on the model of the International Standards Organization. The country has a very stringent process for awarding healthcare accreditation. Adherence to standard EN 45001 is compulsory for accredited healthcare facilities to ensure quality care. The health standards offer a comprehensive corrective action plan for ensuring quality culture at all levels and across all functions.

Why should I opt for healthcare in Switzerland?

Switzerland is emerging as the top destination for medical tourists due to its traditional values of quality, precision, cleanliness, discretion, research-focus, highly qualified experienced staff. Switzerland has some of the best infrastructure available, which naturally reflects in its medical tourism sector. Travelers have flocked to the country to take the advantage of healing waters. Their exceptional research institutes offer medical care of the highest quality. Switzerland has received worldwide recognition for its contribution to medical innovation and new treatments. Several renowned research institutes have come up with medical breakthroughs and new treatments.The Swiss are well known for their excellence in medical innovation and new treatments. Several world-famous research institutes have contributed to medical breakthroughs and new treatments. Some other reasons why Switzerland is preferred for medical tourism are quality and safe treatments, high level of privacy, and a wide range of treatment specialties.

Do hospitals in Switzerland accept health insurance?

Most of the hospitals in Switzerland accept health insurance. You need to check with your insurance company in your country whether the procedure you want to avail is covered at the hospital in the country. If it is an approved insurance provider, the hospital will request the GOP (Guarantee of Payment) from the insurance directly to commence your treatment cashless. It is important to note that there are many things that are not covered under insurance like cosmetic surgery, pregnancy and abortion, and diagnostic tests. You need to pay for your treatment if your insurance plan is not approved in Switzerland and can ask for reimbursement once you are back in your country.

What are the popular procedures available in Switzerland?

The most sought-after procedures in Switzerland are:

  1. Cosmetic surgery
  2. IVF treatment
  3. Neurosurgery
  4. Obesity surgery
  5. Orthopaedic surgery

World-class clinics and hospitals, superior technology, and well-trained doctors are some of the reasons for the popularity of these procedures. Switzerland has gained immense popularity for its excellence in cosmetic surgery and presence of medical health spas which have also made it a preferred spot for medical tourists. The credit for the high success rate of IVF mainly goes to Swiss fertility experts who have been regarded as ‘artists’ due to their skills in fertility treatment and their commitment towards personalized care.

Which are the most popular cities in Switzerland for medical treatment?

Switzerland has a number of modern urban centers, such as Zurich, Lucerne, Bern, Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano. With highly trained and qualified doctors and a large pool of multispecialty hospitals, Switzerland offers a great medical travel experience. A large number of medical tourists visit Zurich and Geneva every year because of several reasons like the availability of reasonably-priced hotel rooms, better transportation systems, and connectivity through airlines. These cities have become leading medical tourism destinations in Switzerland due to many other factors, such as a large pool of world-class hospitals, rich heritage, scenic value, availability of translators, and safety of tourists.

Is it mandatory to take vaccinations before going to Switzerland?

Yes, vaccination is mandatory before you travel to Switzerland. Some of the vaccines recommended by WHO and CDC are:

  1. Hepatitis A
  2. Hepatitis B
  3. Rabies
  4. Meningitis
  5. Polio
  6. Measles
  7. Mumps and rubella (MMR)
  8. Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis)
  9. Chickenpox
  10. Shingles
  11. Pneumonia
  12. Influenza.

Make sure you have MMR and other routine vaccinations as some parts of Switzerland have routine disease outbreaks. The factors that decide the type of vaccine and the dosage are immunization history, traveler's age, and current medical conditions. Pre-exposure vaccination against rabies and yellow fever is recommended before travel to Switzerland.

What is the process for obtaining medical visa in Switzerland?

Anyone traveling to Switzerland to seek treatment needs to have Schengen Visa. You are allowed to stay for a maximum of 90 days in Switzerland if you hold this visa. If your treatment is foreseen to last longer, you should apply for a National Visa for Medical Treatment. Make sure you have the below-listed documents while applying for a medical visa:

  1. Full return flight reservation
  2. Proof of stay in Switzerland
  3. Signed official medical letter from medical institution
  4. Signed medical letter from a recognized local practitioner
  5. Passport
  6. Passport-sized photographs
  7. Online Application form

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