What is the recovery period after surgery for subacute subdural hematomas?

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Posted on Fri, 19 Jun 2015 in Brain and Spine
Question: Hi doc. My grandmother had sergery for severe sub-acute sudural heamatoma. Ots now been 1 month since her sergery. When is it safe for her to take a flight?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 24 minutes later
Hello.
Its important to check her current status before allowing her to fly. I would suggest visiting a physician for clinical status and get confirmation.

Reply with thanks.
Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka 50 minutes later
How long should the recover period take as she still has frequent memory loss, and cant walk without support . Its bern a month since her sub acute subdural hematoma sergery. This is her most recent ct scan after her sergery. Can you also interprete it for me?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I am sorry about your grandmother's problems.

While it is not a good view of those CT scans, it seems that there is still blood in her subdural space. Surgery not always removes all the blood, or it can still be some bleed after it. In fact there is old blood which is hypodense, but also in the third photo there is impression of presence of a more recent bleed (although again, picture quality not good).

I am sure your doctors are aware that there is still blood there, but they have decided that since it represents no acute compression and threat, it is preferable to just observe hoping that the remaining blood will be gradually absorbed, rather than have another surgery which has its risks in old age and doesn't guarantee there won't be still blood afterwards (very common in the elderly).

So we have a situation where there is still some blood left, it was a case of a severe hemorrhage beforehand and the patient is of a presumably advanced age (by the way you should state the patient age and not yours when filling the form). These factors are all not good prognostic factors and they do explain the fact she has memory issues and is unable to walk independently.
When she will recover...well first of all you must be prepared for the fact that after a severe hematoma some disability may remain at the very end, especially in the elderly. Improvement is expected however, its rate and degree depend on the rate of absorption of remaining blood, on how much damage the blood already made and how much can her unaffected brain compensate with time.
You shouldn't lose hope as improvement is expected up one year after the injury.

As for flying it is generally waited for at least a month. Considering that CT scan if it is a long, many hours flight, I'd still wait for a couple more weeks, if a short flight of up to a couple of hours it should be safe.

I remain at your disposal for further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Olsi Taka

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Practicing since :2004

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