Positioning the Patient for Neurosurgical Operations

  • Katherine O. Heller
  • Monica S. Vavilala
  • Irene Rozet


Patient positioning for neurosurgical operations should allow optimal surgical exposure while ensuring patient safety and comfort. Neurosurgical operations require a variety of patient positions to safely access all aspects of the brain and spinal cord. The most common complications associated with patient positioning are pressure ulcers and peripheral nerve injuries. Other rare, but serious, complications related to positioning for neurosurgical procedures include cerebral edema and bleeding, visual loss, quadriplegia, venous and paradoxical air embolism, pneumocephalus, and macroglossia. Positioning for neurosurgical procedures can also impact cardiovascular and respiratory systems, challenging the neuroanesthesiologist.


Positioning Neurosurgery Venous air embolism Postural hypotension Postoperative visual loss Sitting craniotomy 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine O. Heller
    • 1
  • Monica S. Vavilala
    • 2
  • Irene Rozet
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology and Pain MedicineUniversity of Washington and Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care SystemSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and Neurological Surgery, RadiologyUniversity of Washington and Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Harborview Medical CenterSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Anesthesiology and Pain MedicineUniversity of Washington and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Puget Sound Health Care SystemSeattleUSA

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